Little Gems with Carrot Borani, Pistachio, and Dill
Photo by Thomas J. Story
Serves 6 to 8 as a first course or side (14 cups)
Crisp lettuces like Little Gem (a miniature romaine) are often served with creamy dressings. Here, the dressing has been deconstructed; the vinegar and oil lightly coat the leaves and vegetables, while borani, a creamy Iranian-style yogurt dip, creates a bed. Use the lettuces to scoop up the dip if you like. San Francisco cookbook author Michelle McKenzie gave us the recipe.
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons pistachio oil or extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
6 ounces small but fat carrots (with greens), trimmed and scrubbed
1 pound small Little Gem lettuces or butter lettuces, leaves separated
1/2 cup cup coarsely chopped toasted shelled pistachios, or toasted sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk vinegar, oils, and a pinch of fine salt.
Use a mandoline or sharp knife to slice carrots lengthwise into thin ribbons. Place in a bowl of ice water until they start to curl, about 7 minutes; then drain well, pat dry with a kitchen towel, and add to vinaigrette.
Right before serving, add lettuces to carrots, along with half the pistachios, half the dill, and a pinch of fine salt.
With a serving spoon, dollop 1/4 to 1/3 cup carrot borani onto each of 6 to 8 salad plates (or 1 to 2 cups on a large platter). Use back of spoon to spread borani into thick beds. Loosely mound salad on borani, then top with remaining pistachios, dill, and a pinch of flaky sea salt.