Burnt Carrots with Goat Cheese, Parsley, Arugula, and Crispy Garlic Chips
Adapted from Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way (Artisan, 2009)
"Carrots are like a quiet but secretly remarkable child who doesn’t attract much attention. Most often they’re simply what you throw into a soup or a braised dish to 'add a little sweetness.' But it’s because of that inner sweetness that they’re so suited to charring on a chapa (cast iron skillet). The sugar caramelizes and produces a delicious crust."
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, as large as possible, peeled
- 1 cup olive oil
- 8 medium carrots (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
- 2 bunches arugula, trimmed, washed, and dried
- 8 ounces Bucheron or similar log goat cheese, sliced 1/2 inch thick
To make the vinaigrette, pour the vinegar into a small bowl and whisk in 5 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
To make the garlic chips, slice the garlic cloves as thin as possible using a small slicer or mandoline. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Line a plate with two paper towels. Test the heat of the oil by adding one slice of garlic; if it sizzles, add the rest. Cook until just crisp and light golden brown, a matter of seconds. Use a flat slotted skimmer to keep the slices from sticking together as they cook, and transfer them to the paper towels to drain the moment they turn color.
Cut the carrots crosswise in half, then cut the halves into thick rough sticks. Toss in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add the carrots in a single layer and cook, without turning, until they are charred on the bottom and almost burned, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn with a spatula and cook on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes more, adjusting the heat as necessary, until they are crunchy on the outside and tender within. Transfer to a plate. Wipe out the skillet and set aside.
Combine the parsley and arugula on a large serving platter and toss lightly with half the vinaigrette. Place the carrots on top.
Reheat the skillet to a very high heat and coat with the remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. Immediately add the goat cheese; be careful—the oil may splatter. As soon as you see the cheese blacken on the bottom, remove the slices with a thin spatula and invert onto the carrots. Toss the garlic chips over the salad and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.