Spicy Charred Mandarin Carrot Pasta

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Spicy Charred Mandarin Carrot Pasta

I don’t really eat salad. I’ll eat fresh greens through a smoothie because then it’s sweet and citrusy, but I don’t really make myself a bowl of salad. I’ve had salad phases, no doubt. They make me think why don’t I eat salad more often? They can be so good!. It’s winter, though, and the idea of some cold greens with vinaigrette sounds so uncomfortable to me. However, a salad meets something that tastes like a citrus arrabiata? Warm me uuuup, baby! The charred mandarins are cooked in an olive oil that’s packed with garlic, rosemary, tomato paste, and RED PEPPER FLAKE goodness so that they’re full of heat and tang. 

I toss the charred mandarins with carrots skins. So, basically, you know how you skin a carrot’s veiny outer layer? I do that, discard that, and then keep skinning the carrot, so that you have almost a wider version of carrot linguine! I don’t cook them, I like them crunchy, especially because they’re coated in the delicious citrusy, garlicky olive oil. 

To top, I use canned hearts of palm that I slice into thick circles. Hearts of palm are soft and salty, like nature’s mozzarella. According to wikipedia, hearts of palm is “the edible bud of a palm tree”. An edible bud! So cute.

serves about 6-8

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil 

1/2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 

3 tbsp fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp sea salt

dash of nutmeg

dash of cloves

3 mandarins, peeled and separated into their individual slices

zest of 1 mandarin

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, to stir in later

1 can hearts of palm, drained, and chopped into thick circles, for topping 

4 carrots, skinned into lengthwise pieces

lemon juice, to taste


Directions:

1.) In a medium pot on low heat, heat olive oil for 2 minutes to allow it to get heated throughout.


2.) Add tomato paste, smashed garlic, maple syrup, rosemary, black pepper, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and mandarin zest. Cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 


3.) Increase heat to medium. Once oil starts to bubble, carefully add mandarin slices to cover the surface evenly. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until each side looks slightly charred. Transfer to bowl and allow to cool while you prepare the carrots (which is like nothing, you’re just skinning them!)


4.) So you know how you peel carrots? Like you peel the outer “yucky” skin off? You’re gonna do that step first like you normally do and discard that thready outer mask (lol) and then keep doing it AFTER the skin is off, so that you have thin carrot peels. Save these, they’re pretty and we’re about to toss them with the spicy mandarins. Aim for lengthwise, longer peels if possible. 


5.) Toss the carrot peels into the spicy mandarins and add lemon juice and salt if needed. Stir in chopped parsley. Top each salad serving with hearts of palm slices. Serve right away, or store in airtight container for up to two days. Enjoy!

Clara PolitoComment