Thanks to Ottolenghi, who I am a huge fan of, I discovered the Middle Eastern spice, sumac. A sprinkling of this vibrant coloured berry adds a tangy lemony flavour and gentle warmth to dishes. It goes particularly well with chicken, lamb, fish, aubergine, chickpeas and lentils. The colour apparently varies between deep red to dark purple depending on where the plant is grown but whatever the hue it looks particularly pretty speckled on food.
I love carrots raw and regularly have them with all sorts of dips like hummus. Today, I decide to roast them, which bring out the natural sweetness, and they also absorb spices exceedingly well. I served this simple carrot salad as part of a Middle Eastern veggie mezze with an aubergine, feta and pomegranate salad and mint couscous. But this would also make a tasty stand-alone lunch with, perhaps, some cherry tomatoes and feta thrown in.
Serves 2 as a side dish
15 minutes prep, 25 minutes cooking
4 sprigs of thyme
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 heaped tsp sumac
4-5 garlic cloves
Handful of flat leaf parsley
200g cooked chickpeas
Half tsp salt
Half orange, zest and juice
2 tbsp Greek or natural yogurt
1 tsp tahini
Half lemon, juice only
Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven 180C / gas 4 / 350F.
- Add the oil, sumac, garlic and salt to a large bowl. Cut the carrots into roughly equal sizes and add to the bowl. Mix it all together, then spread out on a baking tray and sprinkle over the thyme leaves. Cook for 25-30 minutes depending on the size of your carrots. Give them a shake half way through so they get caramelised all over.
- Whilst cooking prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- When the carrots are golden and cooked through add them to a serving bowl. Leave to cool for a few minutes then add some chopped parsley, finely grated zest and juice of half an orange, chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil to loosen up if necessary.
- Set aside for half an hour to it cool down and let the flavours develop. When ready drizzle over the tahini dressing.