"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon."
Salads admittedly get an unfair reputation in this apartment, mainly because they’re often lumped into the “bagged lettuce tossed with cupboard and refrigerator leftovers” category. Ask me if I’d like a salad, and I’ll conjure up an oversized bowl of semi-wilting leaves, whose lack of heft will leave me digging for a pint of ice cream soon afterwards. Salads are supposed to be the compromise for when you’ve had three too many brownies last night, not because you want to treat yourself to something special for lunch. Where the term 'salad' is mentioned, more often than not does the word 'deprivation' follow in close pursuit.
But that was all until I was browsing through Food52’s book where I saw a salad unlike any other - suspiciously devoid of any iceberg or romaine. It was composed entirely of hearty roasted carrots and buttery avocado, and yet Kristen Miglore had the gall to still throw it in the same category that I make fun of so much? Something labeled ‘salad’ shouldn’t be defying my expectations to such a degree!
Ever so skeptical, I gave it a try, adding toasted sesame seeds and a roasted miso vinaigrette. I try not to describe food as beautiful, because it’s a worn out adjective for food if there ever was one, but that’s the only thing I could think of when plating lunch yesterday. But more importantly, I ate it and was full. Not just appropriately satisfied full, but gut busting, “I’m having trouble finishing this” full, entirely caused by a plate of vegetables.
I’ve finally found it – the no compromises, no deprivation required salad.
ROASTED CARROT & AVOCADO SALAD with miso vinaigrette
for the vinaigrette
¼ cup of white miso paste
1 tablespoon of chopped ginger
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
½ cup of vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil
2 pounds of baby carrots (not those kinds of baby carrots)
1 large haas avocado, sliced into wedges
¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted
2 oranges or grapefruits, peeled and sliced into wheels
mise en place: miso vinaigrette
In a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, drizzle a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the miso paste and stir occasionally, until the paste begins to char. Don’t be afraid of getting it really dark - it should almost look burnt. Continue browning and stirring the paste for about 5-6 minutes until your paste has a good ratio of black char to it. Puree the charred paste with the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients until smooth, adjusting the amount of vinegar and oil to taste.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Peel and split your carrots lengthwise (if they’re smaller, leave them whole). Throw them on a baking sheet and drizzle liberally with olive oil and season with. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until tender and the tips begin to become dark brown and sugary.
Throw the carrots on a platter and dress with the miso vinaigrette. Top with large chunks of avocado, toasted sesame seeds, arugula, citrus segments, and more of the vinaigrette.