Recipe: extracted from Ima Cuisine by Yael Shochat with David Cohen, published by Random House NZ, RRP: $55.00 Photography: Callum Thomas
I have adapted this recipe from a traditional Tunisian carrot dish; cooked and mashed carrots are called for in that dish but I like the smokiness that comes from grilling them. There’s a great combination of the sweetness from the carrots, a bit of saltiness from the feta and olives and a bit of a kick from the chilli.
4 large carrots (about 800g)
¼ cup plus 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 celery heart, including the yellow leaves, or 1 stalk celery, with the outer curve peeled to remove fibres, finely chopped
½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
200g good-quality feta
½ cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Wash and peel the carrots, then slice lengthwise into .cm strips. The easiest way to do this is to slice a small strip off the side of each carrot, creating a flat surface. Place the carrot flat side down on the cutting board and cut the remaining slices. Toss the carrot slices with ¼ cup olive oil, reserving the remainder.
Using a barbecue or griddle pan: preheat the barbecue or pan until very hot. Grill the carrots for a few minutes, turning halfway through, until they are charred on both sides but still crunchy.
Using an oven grill: heat the grill on high. Arrange the carrots in a single layer on a large baking tray. Grill on both sides until golden brown but still crunchy, around 8–12 minutes total.
When the carrots are cool enough to handle, cut on the bias (at an angle) into 3cm pieces.
Lightly crush the caraway seeds with a rolling pin or with a mortar and pestle. In a large bowl, mix together the carrots, celery, olives, remaining olive oil, caraway and chilli.
Crumble the feta and toss the feta and parsley into the carrot mixture just before serving.
The carrot mixture will keep in the refrigerator overnight. Add the feta and parsley only when ready to serve.
Grilling the carrots on a barbecue or griddle pan will give you the best results, with a smoky flavor and a crunchy texture.
The heart of the celery will provide a soft herb flavour, but if you cannot get one then a peeled celery stick is a good substitute.