(Originally published October 10, 2013)
This wonderfully satisfying grilled carrot salad was created by Craig Cyr, co-owner and executive chef at the award-winning Wine Cellar and Bistro in downtown Columbia, Missouri. Chef Craig and his lovely wife Sarah—who also happens to be the sommelier at the Wine Cellar—invited me into their home early this summer and graciously shared their expertise, along with a fabulous tasting menu of locally grown foods and Missouri wines.
This salad recipe was Craig’s contribution, and even though grilling days are winding down this year, you should give this recipe a try alongside your steaks or burgers next time you grill outdoors—it’s too good to miss out on while lettuce and carrots are still so readily available at the local markets. Or if you’re lucky enough to have a stovetop grill plate, you can make this dish and others like it year round.
Look for the video of this session to be posted very soon (it was posted on 10-13-13, click here to see it), to be followed by a video of Sommelier Sarah showing me how to pair food with three different Missouri wines. I’ll be sharing more about the Cyrs, their restaurant, and their farm-to-table philosophy when I post the first video.
Hmm, this is making me hungry—I think it might be time to go back for another lesson soon!
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 1 lime, juiced and zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon thyme, minced
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, warmed to at least 76 degrees so it's in a liquid state
- 1 minced green onion (green top and bulb)
- 1 tablespoon minced carrot top
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
- 3/4 to 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons local honey
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 4 heads Salinova lettuce, or other head lettuce from the market. Salinova is like a leaf lettuce in head form, and Craig likes it for grilling, but you can use any lettuce that forms even a loose head since that makes it possible to keep the lettuce together while grilling. Heartier lettuces, like romaines, may require longer grilling, while delicate lettuces don't require much time on the grill at all.
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Nasturtium flowers (optional)
- Top the carrots, reserving tops for vinaigrette and other uses (pesto, soup etc.).
- Wash and gently scrub skin of carrot (peel If desired) and dry. (Cut in half for quicker cooking time, especially if grilling indoors.)
- Add the coconut oil to the carrots and toss well to coat. Grate in the lime zest and squeeze in some of the lime juice, using the entire lime or less, to taste. Add the minced lemon thyme, toss again, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place carrots on the grill and grill over medium high heat until marks are formed, then move off the direct heat and cook until al dente.
- Remove to clean plate
- Whisk together all ingredients but oil, and then drizzle oil in while whisking constantly until combined. Craig prefers to use clean empty wine bottles for dressing-making. He places a funnel in the bottle top and drops in each ingredient, then corks to shake vigorously. The wine bottle is also handy for storage if you have any leftover dressing.
- Lightly toss with dressing, a pinch of salt, and then direct grill until slightly charred and wilted.
- Put the lettuce on plate, one-half to one head, depending on size.
- Top with carrots. (Craig stacked them artfully for a lovely presentation.)
- Sprinkle salad and plate with pumpkin seeds
- And drizzle light with a bit of additional dressing, both on the salad and surrounding it, on the plate. Add freshly ground pepper, to taste. Craig garnished with a few nasturtium petals that he happened to have in his backyard garden.
- This salad calls for whole immature carrots, not the faux "baby" carrots you buy at the store that are cut into small nubbins. If real, whole baby carrots aren't available, just purchase regular whole carrots, cut them in half vertically, then quarter or halve those chunks.