Steamed vegetables absorb flavors more readily than their raw counterparts, making them ideal for lively dressings and marinades. They also create a substantial base for tasty cool-weather salads.
Here, steamed carrots get a lively lift from a combination of vinegars and sumac, a deep reddish-purple spice with a bright and tangy lemon flavor. Sumac is used throughout the Middle East, where it’s sprinkled over meze and kebabs and combined with thyme and sesame seeds in the spice blend called za’atar. The sour taste of this unique spice plays perfectly with the sweet carrots and the salty feta cheese.
Carrot and Feta Salad with Sumac Dressing
Ground or whole sumac is available in Middle Eastern markets. Stored in an airtight container, the spice will keep well for months.
4 medium carrots, cut on the diagonal into 1/3-inch slices
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to garnish
½ teaspoon ground sumac, plus more to garnish
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Large pinch sea salt, plus more to taste
Large handful chopped flat leaf parsley
Crumbled feta cheese
Steam carrots for 3 minutes or until tender. Spread carrots out in a shallow bowl or platter. Drizzle carrots with vinegars and oil. Add sumac, salt and garlic and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning. Add parsley and toss again. Top salad with feta and sprinkle with sumac. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.
Photo by Stephen Johnson