Sweet Roasted Carrots and Capers Make an Exceptionally Delicious Spread/Dip.
I’ve seen many recipes that use carrots as the main ingredient in a spread or dip and I’ve made quite a few of them. But I had something else in mind when I came up with this recipe. I wanted the flavor of roasted carrots, but I didn’t want the texture to be smooth. So, I tossed them in olive oil, Banyuls vinegar ,* and salt, and roasted them at high heat until they’d caramelized, but were still a little bit firm in the center. This way I got all that great caramelized flavor, but they didn’t turn mushy.
I decided to use the shredding disc on my food processor so they’d remain a little chunky and it worked really well. Roasting the carrots brings out their sweetness and I wanted to balance that out with the rest of my ingredients. I chose capers as my main foil. I thought their salty brininess would work really well.
I keep a big jar of salt packed capers * on hand. They’re more sturdy than brine packed capers and after giving them a good rinse to rid them of salt, I prefer their flavor. Then I minced up plenty of shallots and stirred them in, along with more olive oil.
I tasted the spread and it was good, but now it needed acid. I used both Sonomic Gold Almost Vinegar * and fresh lemon juice. Okay, now this was getting really good, but it still wasn’t quite there. Whole grain mustard * and some chopped fresh mint sealed the deal. A healthy drizzle of olive oil on top enriched it and every bite was a delight. The flavor of the sweet carrots, interspersed with little pops of tart capers, shallots, and grains of mustard is anything but boring.
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of caper powder. It’s simply powder that’s been ground from dried capers and it is delicious on pastas, salads, etc. I thought this would be a perfect time to use it and I was right, but it’s not an absolute necessity. The spread is still delicious without it.
I baked some bread to which I added nigella seeds and we used pieces of it to scoop up the spread. This would be wonderful served as part of a meze spread, all on its own as a snack, or even served alongside some grilled sausages. It would also be delicious spooned into pitas, along with pieces of grilled chicken or lamb.