Spring makes me think of wee lambs gambolling across clover-filled fields which then makes me think of adorable bunnies (second only to lambs in the cuteness category) and from there my mind leaps into the vegetable world and ends up at carrots. Because rabbits eat carrots, right? Only they don’t. A quick search of the ‘ole world wide web and I learned rabbits should eat mainly hay or grass (yawn). It turns out the whole carrot thing is a myth.
Sigh. What next? No Santa Claus?
I stubbornly stick on carrots and figure that if rabbits aren’t eating them, then there is probably a glut of them. Which means it’s our responsibility at Chile Trail HQ to get cooking. Carrots are naturally sweet (thus the no-no for rabbits) and are a partner for just about everything except the kitchen sink.
For something fresh and suitably spring-like, we’ve paired it with a heady blend of herbs, nuts, seeds, some toasted sourdough bread and last, but certainly not least, chile. The ingredients are whizzed up into a crumbly mixture that is a joy with carrots — any veg for that matter — or on top of eggs, a piece of fish or chicken. It’s so versatile that you’ll be dabbing a bit behind your ear and calling it eau d’ spring.
Green chile herby carrots
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 bunch carrots, about 1 lb.
1 thick slice of sourdough bread, toasted
3 Tbsp. roughly chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup roughly chopped dill
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 lemon zest only
2 tsp. Hatch green chile flakes
4-5 Tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice the carrots lengthwise into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the carrots. Place them in an ovenproof casserole dish, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over them, along with a healthy sprinkile of sea salt. Give them a toss to coat and place them in the oven for around 20-25 minutes, until cooked through and golden.
While the carrots are cooking, place the walnuts, pumpkins seeds and Hatch green chile flakes in a small frying pan. Toast over medium heat for several minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Tear the sourdough bread into chunks and blitz in a small blender with the nuts, seeds, chile, dill, mint, lemon zest and around 3 tablespoons of olive oil. It should form a rough and grainy paste that can be crumbled over the carrots. Add a bit more oil if needed.
Remove the carrots from the oven and place on a serving dish. Spoon some of the herby mixture over the carrots and garnish with more walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and chile flakes. Serve hot or at room temperature.