Friday, June 08, 2012

fête de la carotte

My apologies for seemingly drifting off again; I've been feeling under the weather. A phrase I almost didn't want to use, but in a rained-upon sense it is correct. Let's take a carrot-centric field trip to the west coast of France while I'm recovering.

Créances, Normandy is the site of an annual fête de la carotte in celebration of the uncommon carrots grown there in sandy soil, A.O.C. carrots cultivated under the influence of salty seaside air and nourished, somehow, by the proximity of seaweeds. (In this respect I identify deeply with these particular carrots; seaweeds do something for me too). The fête happens in August so you've got plenty of time to plan your trip.

Créances carrot elders at the 2009 fête
via The World Carrot Museum

sandy carrot display, carrots for sale, carrot medal, and carrots growing 
in Créances also via The World Carrot Museum

fête de la carotte 2011

I don't speak French but I believe this says that proximity to
green seaweed elevates the flavor of even industrial pork, and
is engaging for boys on vacation.
From Greenpeace France.

carrot women from Elizabeth Gordon's 
Mother Earth’s Children: The Frolics of the Fruits and Vegetables
via City Farmer News

Cooks who wish to hold their own carrot festival may be interested in the recipe for Rikers Island Carrot Cakewhich calls for twenty five pounds of the carrots of your choice. In lieu of inmates to grate them, why not make the festival-goers do it? People will do pretty much anything if there's a prize given at the end. 

Rikers Island baker by Michael Appleton for The New York Times.
I'd like to think the carrot cake-baking inmates are the only ones
 who get to wear orange striped jumpsuits but the article doesn't say.

Less ambitious carrot-munchers may be interested to hear that spicy carrots are very nice in a sandwich. I'm not talking about a few shreds in your bánh mì, I'm talking about a proper carrot sandwich.  I'm a huge fan of the recipe for Tunisian carrot puree (omi houriya) in Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Foodwhich calls for boiled carrots to be pureed with harissa, ground caraway, cumin and ginger, and a splash of both olive oil and wine vinegar. You could certainly use the same treatment for grated or sliced cooked carrots if those seem more suitable to your sandwich needs. Cozying up to leftover grilled lamb, for example. (I do think the carrots need to be cooked for most sandwiches, even if grated, even if only blanched for a few moments). I also like this recipe from Gourmet for sandwiches of Moroccan carrot salad, goat cheese, and green olive tapenade. The sandwich belowas made with the carrots from that recipe — spiced with cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper and sweet paprika — and squeaky little pillows of fried halloumi cheese. Mint leaves on top and whole wheat sourdough below.

sandwich with spicy carrots and halloumi cheese

As long as we're on the subject, I feel compelled to mention that my all-time favorite carrot recipes are: Marcella Hazan's braised carrots with Parmesan (yes, they really do take so long to cook, just try it), Madhur Jaffrey's carrot cake with cardamom and pistachios (with more pistachios for sure, plus some grated coconut if you're into that), and this simple-but-incredibly-good crème crécy, all of which I have been making for many years. If you make the soup don't be tempted to use vegetable or chicken stock in place of the water; I've tried that and it muddles the flavors.

No comments:

Post a Comment