Ever since I met Jean Georges last year in Shanghai, I have been cooking furiously from his Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes cookbook. Especially the vegetable dishes. I find while I can be completely creative with proteins and pastas and such, when it comes to salad and veggies, I need a little inspiration.
I sometimes blame the lack of available veggies that I know well in Asia, but realistically, it’s probably just that when I grew up in the Southern US, all we really did was boil things and put salt and butter on them. Of course in the last 20 years, I have come a long way from that style of cooking (and so has the South!). And so it is with great pleasure I share with you my current favourite and perhaps one of the best salad recipes. it does a spectacular job of elevating common ingredients that are available from the US to Europe to even Asia. Don’t be put off by the length of the recipe, just a lot of small steps and small bits of many ingredients…it’s not very complicated.
Jean Georges Carrot & Avocado Salad with Crunchy Seeds
The recipe starts by preparing the Cumin and Citrus Roasted Carrots:
1lb medium carrots, peeled
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 oranges
2 lemons, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a wide pot of water to boil, add carrots and cook til a knife pierces them easily.
With a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, cumin thyme and chili with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp black pepper until crushed and pasty. Add the vinegar and 1/4 oil and continue pounding until well mixed. (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can use a food processor or blender)
Drain the carrots and arrange in a medium roasting pan in a single layer. Spoon the cumin mixture over. Cut the whole oranges in half and arrange the orange halves and 2 of the lemon halves op top of the carrots, cut sides down. Roast for 25 minutes or until the carrots are golden brown. Transfer carrots to a platter.
When cool enough to handle, squeeze 2 tbsp of the juice each from the roasted oranges and lemons into a small bowl. Using the remaining orange half and lemon halves squeeze 2 tbsp more fresh juice into the bowl. Whisk in the 2 remaining tbsp of oil and emulsify. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the carrots, reserving about 1 tsp for the salad.
To prepare the other salad ingredients:
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
4 cups sprouts, preferably a mix of radish and beet
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sour cream
Spread the sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted and golden (not brown), which will take about 7 minutes. Cool completely.
Put the avocado and the sprouts on top of the carrots. Drizzle the remaining citrus juice emulsion over the greens. Dollop the sour cream on top. Sprinkle with the toasted seeds. Serve immediately. Garnish with edible flowers if desired.