Crain or shine, many of us are going out to eat out with some friends this weekend. Just because we can, which is finally something to celebrate. And every time I think of eating out, I think of striped food. Those charred lines not only look great on their own, but they also evoke all the barbecues, picnics, and good times outdoors. So it’s time to heat up that pan, set the table (or lay out the picnic mat), and find the spring in our collective stride.
Roasted carrots with red onion pickle and coriander yogurt (above photo)
These amounts will produce more spice mix and a little more onion pickle than you need, but the pickle keeps well in the refrigerator for at least a week and is great stacked in a sandwich while excess spice mix it can be kept in a jar to sprinkle over leafy salads or to liven up sauces.
Homework 20 minutes
Cook 35 min
It serves 4
For the carrots
Medium 600g carrots, scrubbed but unpeeled, top removed and cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
For the onion pickle
1 red onion (80g), peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon, squeezed, to make 2 tablespoons
For the spice mix
½ tablespoon ground cumin
½ tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon of sugar
For the coriander yogurt
80 g coriander, 1½ tablespoon (5 g) of leaves collected, to serve, the rest chopped
150 g Greek yogurt
2 green chilies (20g), coarsely chopped, seeds and marrow removed, discarding if you prefer less spicy
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 lemon, squeezed, to make 2 tablespoons
Put a liter and a half of cold water in a large saucepan, add a tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the carrots, lower the heat to medium-high and cook for about six minutes, until partially cooked but still firm. Drain, return to the saucepan, add the oil, maple syrup, and half a teaspoon of salt, then set aside.
In a small non-reactive bowl, mix the sliced onion with the lemon juice and a quarter teaspoon of the salt and set aside.
Place a small skillet over medium heat, then toast the cumin and coriander for about two minutes, stirring frequently, until very fragrant. Let cool, then transfer to a mortar or spice grinder, and add the sesame seeds, sugar, and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Grind coarsely so that some of the sesame seeds break apart and the rest remain whole, then transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Put all the ingredients for the coriander yogurt, sweep the collected leaves into the bowl of a food processor and stir until almost smooth but with lots of green flecks all over.
Put a skillet over high heat and once it’s hot, roast the carrots for five to six minutes, turning them once halfway through and basting them with the marinade from the skillet, until they have deep burn marks on both sides.
Place three-quarters of the coriander yogurt in a bowl and put the rest in a small bowl. Place the carrots on top of the yogurt, then sprinkle with half the pickled onions, half the spice mix, and the collected coriander leaves. Serve the remaining yogurt, onions, and spice mix in bowls on the side, or save for another use.
Grilled zucchini with rattlesnake honey
Try rattlesnake honey in other dishes. It is magnificent drizzled on a flatbread spread with ricotta, for example, or on mozzarella or burrata; it is also excellent in a marinade for roasted vegetables. And if you can’t get rattlesnakes, use an ancho chili pepper, split in half.
Homework 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
It serves 4
For the rattlesnake honey
2 cloves of garlic, bare
2 red chili peppers
2 lemons, 1 cut in half, the other cut into wedges, for serving
2 bell peppers (or 1 ancho chili pepper, halved)
150 g of liquid honey
For the zucchini
4 small zucchini (550 g), ideally a mixture of yellows and greens, cut at an angle into 1½ cm wide x 8 cm long slices
5 tbsp olive oil (75ml)
3 tablespoons fresh picked oregano leaves (5 g)
100g of feta cheese, thinly sliced across
2 chives, finely cut into matchsticks
To establish a skillet over high heat. Once very hot, place the garlic, red chili peppers, and lime halves cut side down and grill for three minutes. Turn everything over, add the bell peppers to the pan and roast for another two minutes, turning the bells once halfway through, until everything is well charred. Cut the red chiles lengthwise into quarters, then place in a medium saucepan with the charred garlic, limes, and bells. Pour the honey into the pan and cook over medium heat for about three minutes, until the honey loosens and starts to bubble. With some tongs, squeeze the juices from the cascabel peppers and the lime halves and put them in the mixture, then remove from the heat, add a pinch of salt and let it infuse while you roast the zucchini, or even overnight.
Put the zucchini slices in a bowl with two tablespoons of oil and half a teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat, then grill the zucchini in three to four batches for three to four minutes on each side, until they have clear grill marks. Transfer to a plate, season with a little more salt, then repeat with the rest of the zucchini.
Heat the remaining three tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan and, once hot, fry the oregano leaves for just 30-40 seconds, until they turn bright green and crisp. Strain through a heat-resistant strainer placed over a heat-resistant container and set aside.
Place the zucchini in a bowl, then drizzle in half the honey. Put the rest, including the garlic and rattlesnake seeds, in a small bowl, reserve the chili pulp, and discard the lime halves.
Pour the chiles evenly over the zucchini, then top with the feta cheese. Squeeze over one of the fresh lime wedges and top with the chives, crunchy oregano leaves and a drizzle of the strained oil. Serve at room temperature with the reserved honey, additional oregano oil (save the one you don’t use for another dish), and lime wedges for juicing.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism