A Glorious Combination of Color, Texture, and Flavors.
Well, there are a few things going on here that warrant an explanation. I’ll start with the dukkah first. It’s an Egyptian nut, seed, and herb blend that’s been around a very long time. It’s used as a dip for flatbreads, amongst other things. I love it and come up with my own blends, depending on how I’m using it. I wanted it for this dish because I felt some crunch and extra depth of flavor was needed.
I included coriander, cumin, and celery seeds, toasted hazelnuts, pine nuts, nigella seeds, toasted sesame seeds, dried oregano, turmeric, smoked paprika, sumac, and salt. You can add other nuts, seeds, and flavorings, but this is what I did this time around. It commonly contains toasted nuts, coriander and cumin, but varies widely in specific amounts and other additions. After briefly pulsing a couple of times in the food processor, the texture should remain chunky. You don’t want it finely ground.
I then roasted some beets and made a purée by adding tahini and lemon juice. A few ice cubes thrown into the processor made for a really beautiful consistency and the lemon juice sparked up the flavor of the roasted beets.
I tried a technique that was new to me for roasting the carrots. After tossing them with olive oil, a little garam masala, salt and pepper, I added a tablespoon of cornstarch before roasting them at 425°.
The cornstarch created a crispy crust on the outside of the carrots. I will use this technique again when I want my roasted veggies to have a nice crispiness.
All of this came about because I had some extra beets and got to thinking about how I’d like something creamy made with them. From there, this recipe came into being. Needless to say, I was thrilled with how it looked. Those colors and textures really speak to me. All it needed was a drizzle of roasted hazelnut oil to bring all the flavors together. I’m a true believer that the appearance of our food directly contributes to our perception of its taste. This platter of food looked exciting.
And it was exciting to eat. I served flatbreads with it so that I could use pieces of it to scoop up some of the puree. The garam masala was the perfect spice for the carrots. It served to deepen their flavor and added a beautiful aroma to the overall dish. Then the dukkah was the icing on the cake. I served more of it on the side so that everyone could add as much as they liked to their own serving. Personally, I liked a lot on mine.