Berbere-Roasted Carrots With Chimichurri and Yogurt
scallions, roots and ends cut off
cloves of garlic
berbere spice mix
salt to taste
sprigs of mint
sprigs of parsley
red wine vinegar
small firm summer squash
I put together a recipe using Ethiopian flavors like berbere, an Ethiopian and Eritrean spice blend that includes Trp-triggering spices like dried chilies and black peppercorns. The recipe also includes mint in two different ways, one of which is a tzatziki-like yogurt sauce designed to cool your mouth down from what is hopefully a pretty spicy dish.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice carrots width-wise and then length-wise. Slice a few scallions into inch-long pieces, and chop all but one clove of garlic very roughly, only a few chunks per clove. Toss into a big bowl, pour in a third of your olive oil, some salt, and the berbere. Berbere is usually pretty spicy, so don’t go nuts, but we’ll also have mint to save us here, so don’t be shy with it, either. Toss until all carrots are coated.
- Pour 1 tbsp more oil onto a baking sheet and spread out your carrot mixture. Make sure all the flat sides are facing down, to maximize contact with the hot baking sheet, and most importantly, do not crowd the pan. There should be a minimum of half an inch of space between each carrot. If they’re too close, the carrots will steam instead of roast. Put them in the oven.
- While those are cooking, make the chimichurri. Take half of your mint—go for a more mild one here, like spearmint or pineapple mint—and all of the parsley, and put it in the food processor. Pour in 2 tbsp of olive oil, the red wine vinegar, and squeeze a little bit of orange juice in there as well. Blend; it will probably be too dry and not a nice, loose pesto consistency like we’re looking for, so add in a little water until it’s right.
- Put that in a bowl. Thinly slice a serrano and add that, and some salt, to the chimichurri.
- Shred the summer squash—use a firm one like pattypan (UFO shaped) or zephyr (two-toned)—and put in a strainer over the sink. Sprinkle on a bunch of salt and let sit for a few minutes to drain out some excess water, then briefly rinse and pat dry. Grate a clove of garlic; a microplane is best for this. Also zest that orange. Chop the rest of the mint. Plop your yogurt into a bowl, put in the squash, garlic, mint, and orange zest, and the rest of your olive oil. Salt and black pepper to taste. Let that sit as long as you can to leach out some of that raw garlic spiciness.
- The carrots are done when a knife goes through them with no resistance; hopefully by this time the scallions and garlic are browned, and the flat side of the carrots are all nice and caramelized.
- On a plate or platter or something, spoon out some of the yogurt mixture. Place the carrots on top; there will probably be some oil left in the baking sheet, which will be tasty and spicy, so pour that over the carrots if you want. Pour the chimichurri over the top.