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Fresh, local carrots don’t need much embellishment.

HAAN PALCU-CHANG

This past September I cooked for a number of private dinners and a couple of weddings on Salt Spring Island, B.C. It's a special place, naturally beautiful and is the home to an eclectic, vibrant community.

For a chef, the island is particularly of interest, as during the summer it is absolutely brimming with beautiful local produce. There are two farmer's markets a week, and roadside farm stands are always full of organic eggs, fresh vegetables and fruits. It really is a chef's dream.

I made this carrot dish for one of the weddings I did, since the farm where it was being held had an abundance of beautiful baby carrots. My crew and I jumped at the prospect of using them. We came up with this recipe after the usual inspiration-seeking on the internet, and a few rounds of R&D with my sous chef.

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I think preserved lemon makes this dish. You can get it in any Middle Eastern grocer or at many specialty food stores. If you can't find it, zest a lemon and squeeze about two or three tablespoons of its juice into the carrots for that hit of much-needed acidity.

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Servings: 4 as a side

Spiced carrots with raisins, toasted pumpkin seeds, fried garlic and preserved lemons

1 lbs of cleaned carrots cut into bite size pieces

5-6 cloves garlic sliced as thinly as possible

1/4 cup neutral flavoured oil

Salt

1 pinch ground clove

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground coriander

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 to 2 tbsp white rice vinegar

1 to 2 tbsp olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon raisins

1 tablespoon preserved lemon, finely chopped

1 handful of flat leaf parsley finely chipped

1 green onion finely sliced

1 heaping tablespoon pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in a pan for 1 to 2 minutes

Method

Heat a pan of salted water over the stove until boiling. Boil the carrots until just cooked through. They should not be crunchy, but you don’t want mush either. Strain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a shallow pan and put over medium-low heat. Fry garlic in the oil until light golden brown and crispy. Strain out the oil and lay the garlic on a paper towel to remove excess oil. These should not taste bitter. If they do, you have cooked them for too long.

Mix spices together and set aside.

Place carrots into a mixing bowl. Dress with vinegar, olive oil and pinches of the spice mix to taste. Season with salt. Mix in the raisins, lemon, parsley and green onions. Taste again. Add vinegar, salt or oil to your taste.

Spoon out onto a flat serving dish and sprinkle over fried garlic and pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately.

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