Recipe: Roasted Carrots with Fresh Ricotta and Harissa Syrup

AL1_0721

by chefs Tom Gray and Al Fuentes, Town Hall // photo by Agnes Lopez

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:
2 lbs. fresh carrots, washed and split in half, depending on size, plus extra for garnish (see below)
3 T. canola oil
Small bunch of fresh thyme (on the stem), washed and dried
Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Place the carrots in a medium-sized bowl, toss lightly in canola oil, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Line a baking sheet with the fresh thyme, and lay carrots on top in a single layer.
3. Roast until golden brown and tender, approximately 20 minutes, based on size. When carrots are cooked, remove from pan, discard thyme and set aside.

Fresh Ricotta

Ingredients:
1 qt. whole milk
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. buttermilk
1 T. champagne vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground white pepper, to taste

Procedure:
1. Set up a colander or handled strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl or sink.
2. Combine milk, cream, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper in a medium pot over moderate heat. Bring up just to a boil, stirring often allowing your spoon scrape the bottom of the pot to avoid scorching. As soon as you see movement to indicate the milk is about to boil, turn off heat and pour in buttermilk and vinegar. Stir once or twice then stop to allow curds to form, and curds to naturally set to the top, and whey to the bottom of the pan, approximately 10-15 minutes.
3. After it is set, use a slotted spoon to skim the cheese into cheesecloth-lined colander or strainer. Allow excess whey to drip out until the remaining ricotta is soft-set. (Draining too much will yield a too-hard cheese.)
4. Fold in lemon zest and olive oil. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Excess may be placed in a closed container and refrigerated for up to five days.

Shaved Rainbow Carrots (for garnish)

Thinly shave cleaned carrots either with a vegetable peeler or a mandolin, to create thin ribbons. Immediately submerge the carrot shavings into ice water for 20 minutes. This will set the color and allow the vegetables to retain crunch and texture. Just before serving, pat dry or spin in a salad mixer to remove excess water.

Harissa Syrup

Ingredients:
2 oz. Harissa paste (Find at Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Williams Sonoma or Publix in the International/Middle Eastern section.)
10 oz. honey
8 oz. rice wine vinegar
5 oz. lime juice
4 oz. water
1 tsp. ginger powder
1 c. sugar

Procedure:

Place all ingredients in a medium size sauce pot. Whisk all ingredients together to incorporate and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until reduced into a syrup consistency. Excess may be kept in the refrigerator for up a month.

To Plate

1. Place several large dollops of ricotta on a serving platter and spread artfully over the plate.
2. Place roasted carrots on ricotta and top with shaved rainbow carrots. Drizzle with Harissa syrup. For extra pop of color and flavor, add garnish of microgreens or chopped cilantro.

Serves 8