I Am Obsessed With These Charred-Carrot Tacos
NYMag, July 5, 2017, by Mark Bittman
I am obsessed with carrots. I came close to writing about the 100-odd true “baby” carrots I grilled over the weekend with a friend, but instead of that, I want to pass along a new recipe. Recently, I was at the Solid Sound festival in North Adams, Massachusetts, and just as I was about to go onstage with the talented and committed radio host Monte Belmonte, I was handed one of these beautiful carrot tacos from Wheelhouse, a caterer and food truck in the area. The carrot obsessive in me was very appreciative, so much so that I asked for the recipe, which is right here.
Charred-Carrot Tacos With Spicy Snap Peas, Ruby-Red Sauerkraut, and Fresh Greens
Makes: 6 servings
1 bunch carrots (7 to 8 medium carrots), peeled if necessary, scrubbed clean, and cut into spears about 4 inches long by 1⁄2-inch thick
2 to 4 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, paprika, and garlic powder, mixed
Pinch of cayenne
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 cups sugar-snap peas, deveined and sliced on a bias
2 to 3 teaspoons hot sauce (e.g., sriracha, Cholula, or homemade)
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Extra-virgin olive oil
Lacto-fermented red-cabbage sauerkraut (store-bought or homemade)
Mixed baby greens
12 fresh corn tortillas
1. First and foremost, turn on your vent fan. Charred carrots do produce a bit of smoke.
2. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over high heat. Add a handful of the carrots, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until slightly charred on all sides, 6 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan once in a while so carrots don’t burn. Carrots should be tender, but with a little bite left to them. Remove the hot carrots to a sheet pan or bowl, toss with a few pinches of spices, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a pinch more salt, and keep warm in a 200-degree oven. Repeat in batches, adding more oil if needed, until all the carrots are charred.
3. In a small bowl, toss the sliced peas with hot sauce and lime juice. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with salt, to taste.
4. Heat tortillas in a dry cast-iron or stainless-steel pan over medium heat. Toast them for about 15 to 20 seconds on each side, or until softened. Keep warm in a slightly damp, clean kitchen towel.
5. To assemble the tacos, divide the charred carrots among the tortillas. Top with the mixed greens, the snap peas, and a smattering of ruby-red sauerkraut. Enjoy.