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Grilled Baby Carrot Salad by Chef Craig Cyr

Chef Craig Cyr's grilled baby carrot salad

Chef Craig Cyr’s grilled baby carrot salad

(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!

Chef Craig Cyr's Grilled Baby Carrot Salad
A delicious salad of grilled lettuce and carrots with a bright herbed vinaigrette.
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For the carrots
  1. 1 pound baby carrots
  2. 1 lime, juiced and zest
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon thyme, minced
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper
  6. 1 teaspoon coconut oil, warmed to at least 76 degrees so it's in a liquid state
For the vinaigrette
  1. 1 minced green onion (green top and bulb)
  2. 1 tablespoon minced carrot top
  3. 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  4. 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
  5. 3/4 to 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  6. 2 tablespoons local honey
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Pepper to taste
For the salad
  1. 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.
  2. 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  3. Nasturtium flowers (optional)
Grilling the carrots
  1. Top the carrots, reserving tops for vinaigrette and other uses (pesto, soup etc.).
  2. Wash and gently scrub skin of carrot (peel If desired) and dry. (Cut in half for quicker cooking time, especially if grilling indoors.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove to clean plate
Preparing the vinaigrette
  1. 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.
Grilling the greens
  1. Lightly toss with dressing, a pinch of salt, and then direct grill until  slightly charred and wilted.
Assembling the salad
  1. Put the lettuce on plate, one-half to one head, depending on size.
  2. Top with carrots. (Craig stacked them artfully for a lovely presentation.)
  3. Sprinkle salad and plate with pumpkin seeds
  4. 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.
Notes
  1. 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.
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The young carrots are sliced in half and tossed with some coconut oil, finely minced lemon thyme, and salt.

The young carrots are sliced in half and tossed with some coconut oil, finely minced lemon thyme, and salt.

Craig funnels finely minced herbs into his wine bottle dressing vessel.

Craig funnels finely minced herbs into his wine bottle dressing vessel.

Craig pours olive oil through the funnel into the wine bottle.

Craig pours olive oil through the funnel into the wine bottle.

Chef-in-training Mae helps by shaking up the dressing.

Chef-in-training Mae helps by shaking up the dressing.

The halved baby carrots, both purple and orange varieties, are lined up on the grill.

The halved baby carrots, both purple and orange varieties, are lined up on the grill.

Boone would like to help turn the carrots, but he makes do with sharing a cilantro leaf with his dad and me.

Boone would like to help turn the carrots, but he makes do with sharing a cilantro leaf with his dad and me.

Craig takes the carrots off the grill after they're nicely browned and al dente.

Craig takes the carrots off the grill after they’re nicely browned and al dente.

Lettuce spends a short time on the grill.

Lettuce spends a short time on the grill.

Pumpkin seeds toast in a pan over low heat while the salad is assembled.

Pumpkin seeds toast in a pan over low heat while the salad is assembled.

The finished salad, ready to eat.

The finished salad, ready to eat.

 

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. MO Deep Roots cooking video, episode 6: Chef Craig Cyr’s grilled carrot salad | MO Deep Roots - November 13, 2013

    [...] Here’s a step-by-step video that shows Chef Craig Cyr of the Wine Cellar and Bistro (Columbia, Missouri) showing me how to make a savory, satisfying salad of grilled carrots and lettuce (here’s the recipe, with pictures, from an earlier post).  [...]

  2. Spring dreaming | MO Deep Roots - April 26, 2014

    […] Cosmic Purple carrots: Kids love these purple-on-the-outside carrots, and my sister, the teacher, has even found that her kids like to draw with them before gobbling them down! They’re also beautiful in this grilled carrot salad. […]

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