In the “Before Times,” when people came over for dinner, I often roasted carrots, allowing them to nearly blacken in the oven; I served them on a platter with swoops of seasoned yogurt and piles of herbs.
This new recipe makes those carrots the base of a filling meal, pairing them with barley, a rich tahini dressing, and almonds for crunch.
Warm roasted carrot And barley salad
• 1 cup pearled barley
• Kosher salt and black pepper
• 2 pounds carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into 3-inch-long (a scant 1/2-inch-wide) batons
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 teaspoons runny honey, such as clover honey
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
• 2 cups arugula
• A handful of parsley
• 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Ingredients for the spiced tahini:
• 1/4 cup tahini
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
• 1 teaspoon ras el hanout
• 1 small garlic clove, grated
Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack on the lowest shelf. In a medium saucepan, combine barley with 4 cups water; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20-25 minutes. If the barley hasn’t absorbed all of the water, drain off the excess.
Place the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat, spreading into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom oven rack and roast until tender and starting to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss and return to the oven for 5-7 minutes until completely tender.
While the carrots roast, make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, ras el hanout, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3-4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth and has a pourable consistency.
When the carrots are ready, remove them from the oven, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with lemon zest. Season with a pinch of salt and toss to coat.
In a serving bowl, combine the carrots with the barley, arugula and parsley. Drizzle with the spiced tahini and sprinkle with almonds.
Total time: 35 minutes, serves 6.