I'm the type of person who would prefer to skip dinner and go straight to dessert. I swear, if given the option, I will replace a healthy, well balanced meal and opt for something sweet 50% of the time. After a few days of doing something along the lines of just this paired with other overly rich indulgences like french scrambled eggs (they are decadent), chilaquiles from the Ferry Building Farmer's Market and an extra good dose of caramels, I decided it was time to treat myself to a large serving of salad.
Salads are actually kind of my specialty. Growing up, my father assigned me to salad duty quite frequently, even going as far as to give my salads scores based on various criteria like creativity, presentation and the like. You can kinda say he groomed me to build a fairly decent salad. So naturally, I can't just throw some greens and dressing together and call it a salad. My salads are usually over the top and end up being more of a main than a starter.
So back to the salad at hand. I didn't start out the day intending to make a salad, but after picking up a bounty of freshness from the farmer's market, I decided there was no other option but to make a big, beautiful salad. And I also decided that it had to be served with the borage blossoms and calendula petals I found earlier at the market and the chive blossoms I picked from our rooftop garden because edible flowers are my newest obsession and I've made it my personal goal to incorporate them into as many dishes as I can (because why not). They make everything that much prettier and add an extra layer of flavor and texture. Borage blossoms are a beautiful deep blueish, purple color and have a sweet, almost honey-like flavor that also has a freshness of cucumber all wrapped up in it. Calendula petals are a gorgeous golden color and have notes of pepper, spice, and tang. Chive blossoms are a pale purple and taste like mild onions.
When I assessed my other farmer's market acquisitions, I realized I had all the fixings I'd need to build a souped up version of the famous ABC Kitchen Carrot Avocado Salad. And if you've had their version you might be thinking, "it shouldn't be touched" or "it's perfect as is." And it is. But honestly, it takes a while to roast the carrots, then toast the seeds, and whip up the dressing, so I feel like you may as well make a legit meal out of it if you're going through all that process. And so, here's my take on the ABC Kitchen Carrot Avocado Salad.
ABC Kitchen's Carrot Avocado Salad: 2.0
Adapted from The NY Times's adaption of ABC Kitchen's recipe
Makes 2 large dinner salads
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme (leaves)
- 1 tsp. crushed red chili flakes
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 2 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c. almond slivers
- 1/4 c. pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 c. white sesame seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp. coarse flake salt (+ more for seasoning)
- 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (+ more for seasoning)
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 2 lbs medium carrots, peeled
- 1 orange, halved
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into thin wedges
- 8 oz. burrata
- 1 bunch radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced.
- 3 cups mixed baby kales (or greens of your choice), washed
- 1 c. micro greens (optional)
- Borage blossoms (optional)
- Chive blossoms (optional)
- Calendula petals (optional)
- Shallow baking sheet
- Small food processor or mortar & pestle
- Roasting pan
- Chef's knife
- Small bowl
- Citrus juicer (orange sized preferred)
- Glass measuring cup (2 c. recommended)
- Large salad/serving bowls
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- In a small food processor, pulse the garlic with the cumin, thyme, chile flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper to make a paste (can also be done with a mortar & pestle).
- Add vinegar and 2 Tbsp. of the oil to the garlic-spice paste and mix well.
- Lay carrots in roasting pan and spread garlic-spice paste on top. Place both orange and lemon halves, cut side down, on carrots.
- Roast carrots until fork tender, about 45 minutes.
- In the last 5 minutes of roasting, spread almond slivers, pumpkin seeds and white sesame seeds evenly in shallow baking sheet and bake in oven, watching carefully, as they toast quickly. Toast until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
- Remove both the roasting pan and baking sheet from oven. Reserve almond-seed mixture in a small bowl for use later.
- Divide the mixed baby kales into the two large salad/serving bowls.
- Arrange carrots neatly over the mixed baby kales, using tongs (the carrots will be hot!).
- Using citrus juicer, squeeze juice from the roasted orange and lemon halves into glass measuring cup. This should yield roughly 1/2 c. juice. Whisk in 2 Tbsp. oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- (Optional) equally divide micro greens and spread evenly over carrots in each bowl.
- Arrange avocado wedges on micro greens, in both bowls.
- Break burrata into pieces and arrange over the center of the avocado in each bowl.
- Dip radish slices into the citrus dressing and arrange neatly over burrata in each bowl.
- Sprinkle almond-seed mixture evenly over both bowls. You do not need to use the entire mixture.
- (Optional) Sprinkle blossoms and petals evenly over both bowls.
- Drizzle citrus dressing (to taste) over both bowls.
- Serve and enjoy!