Warm Roasted Carrot and Barley Salad
There is something very exciting about transforming a simple bunch of carrots into a deeply flavorful and satisfying weeknight meal. Carrots are given a lot of love here: Leaving the skin on adds texture, slicing them into thin batons ensures that they cook quickly and evenly, and drizzling them with honey right out of the oven amplifies their natural sweetness. A sprinkle of lemon zest adds brightness. Ras el hanout, a North African spice blend, means “head of the shop” in Arabic as it was often one of the best mixes a vendor had to offer. Its fragrant blend of coriander, cumin, ginger, clove and turmeric brings warmth and richness to the tahini. The perfect chew of pearl barley is so gratifying in this dish, but for even more flavor, cook your barley in stock.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1cup pearled barley
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2pounds carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into 3-inch-long, a scant 1/2-inch-wide batons
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2teaspoons runny honey, such as clover honey
- ½teaspoon fresh lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
- 2cups arugula
- A handful of parsley
- ¼cup toasted sliced almonds
- ¼cup tahini
- 1tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
- 1teaspoon ras el hanout
- 1small garlic clove, grated
Step 1Heat 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 to 25 minutes. If the barley hasn’t absorbed all of the water, drain off the excess.
Step 2Meanwhile, 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 to 7 minutes until completely tender.
Step 3While 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 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth and has a pourable consistency.
Step 4When 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.
Step 5In a serving bowl, combine the carrots with the barley, arugula and parsley. Drizzle with the spiced tahini and sprinkle with almonds.