Avocado & Carrot Salad
There are far simpler salads to make than this snazzy little gem, but the bit of extra effort needed to nudge this one over the line is well worth it. And with summer well and truly peeking its head above the horizon, it may be time to call up the neighbours for a few coldies and a round of petanque in the kids old sandpit. Accompany this sweet dish with an array of grilled meats and even your 'fancy' friends will be licking their plates.
900g small carrots (50 to 70mm, 25mm thick), or large carrots quartered and cut into 70mm segments, peeled (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 avocado, cut into 12 wedges
2 cups mixed baby sprouts, herbs, and microgreens
4 tablespoons crème fraiche
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Adjust an oven rack to the centre position and preheat the oven to 230c.
Place the carrots in a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Season with salt, set over high heat, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the carrots are tender about 10 minutes. Drain the carrots and transfer them to a medium bowl.
Cut the orange and lemon in half and juice half of each one, reserving the juice and the un juiced halves, and discarding the juiced halves.
Combine the cumin, garlic, thyme, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the red wine vinegar, red pepper, 1 teaspoon of the orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Season the marinade to taste with salt and pepper. Add the marinade and the un-juiced citrus halves to the carrots and toss to combine.
Spread the carrots and citrus halves on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the carrots are slightly shrivelled with a few brown spots, about 20 minutes. Allow the carrots to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from the roasted citrus halves into a small bowl. Add the remaining fresh orange juice, lemon juice, remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil, and the sugar. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper, and whisk to combine.
Divide the carrots and avocado slices onto four plates. Divide the greens among the plates on top of the carrots and avocado. Add a tablespoon of crème Fraiche to each salad. Sprinkle sunflower seeds and sesame seeds over each plate.
Drizzle several tablespoons of dressing over and around each salad (reserve any remaining dressing for another use), and serve immediately.