Matt Preston’s 100 best recipes, 246pp.
by Matt Preston
Pan McMillan Australia, Sydney, 2012
Cooking on page 32
Matt Preston is one of three core judges for Australia’s MasterChef competition.
I hadn’t heard of him until he surfaced on MasterChef a few years back, but he has a solid background as a food journalist, restaurant critic, recipe writer and now television personality. I always think of his colourful and, sometimes, outrageous clothing. Think of a big guy in a hot-pink suit.
Recipes in this cookbook represent everyday food. Preston loves these dishes. They come from his childhood, his weekend cooking forays, his family’s favourites and much more.
Page 32 honours the carrot.
A noble roast carrot salad
18 Dutch (baby) carrots, scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 witlof, heart discarded, sliced crosswise
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
200 g fresh ricotta, crumbled
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon toasted almonds
2 tablespoons honey, warmed
chervil or dill, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the carrots in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast in the overn for 45 minutes until soft and almost caramelised. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
To serve, transfer the carrots to a shallow dish. Scatter the witlof, onion and ricotta over the top. Layer on the sunflower seeds and toasted almonds, and drizzle with warmed honey. Sprinkle over the chervil or dill to finish.
How it played out
I’ve been eyeing this recipe for a while and was delighted to find a large bunch of Dutch carrots for $2.50—and it had 19 carrots. Sometimes a bunch of nine can cost $2.99.
I made a couple of changes. Toasted the sunflower seeds along with the almonds, and used rocket (arugula) in place of the witlof. We like witlof, but I was too lazy to run to the shops when I had rocket on hand.
It wasn’t until I came to type up the recipe that I realised I had completely forgotten the honey. Oops!
Preston is right. This is a truly noble carrot recipe. We all loved it. The rocket added a lovely bitter, peppery taste, and we didn’t miss the honey at all. Oh, and I reckon this dish would go well with feta in place of ricotta.
This goes straight on to my make-it-often list.
Interested in travel?
Poor John and I are on an overland truck travelling from Tehran to Beijing. Carrots are everywhere and our cook group has made carrot and orange salad twice. Very popular. Feel free to check out my travel blog for info on some of the sights.