Smashed Carrot Salad

published Apr 12, 2022
Smashed Carrot Salad Recipe

In this salad, every ingredient has a purpose—lending texture, temperature, brightness and acidity to what turns out to be a symphony of flavors.

Serves2

Prep20 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook24 minutes to 30 minutes

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Credit: Kelli Foster

Smashing food has become quite a trend these days: smash burgers, smashed potatoes, smashed cucumber salad, smashed fried mushrooms. People can’t get enough!

And who can blame them? Squishing your food ensures that you’ll get a combination of textures: softness here, crispy edges there. People want the best of both worlds and smashed foods provide just that. Plus, the process is a lot of fun.

Credit: Kelli Foster

Here, I’ve gotten springy with the smashing and tried the technique with carrots. You start by steaming thick carrot coins until tender, then smashing them gently inside a paper towel. The craggy carrots get tossed in a spice rice flour mixture before being quickly fried in some olive oil until they’re browned and crispy on the outside.

The carrots may be the star of the show here, but don’t underestimate the supporting cast. Every ingredient has a purpose lending texture, temperature, brightness and acidity to what turns out to be a symphony of flavors. You will notice there are multiple steps here. Take your time and enjoy the process. When it’s all done, you’ll have golden brown, crispy carrots nestled with peppery arugula, creamy avocado, cool sour cream, and pops of citrusy coriander — and you’ll notice a big smile on everyone’s face.

Smashed Carrot Salad Recipe

In this salad, every ingredient has a purpose—lending texture, temperature, brightness and acidity to what turns out to be a symphony of flavors.

Prep time 20 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook time 24 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 2

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the crema:

  • 6

    fresh cilantro sprigs

  • 1/2

    medium lime

  • 1/4 cup

    sour cream

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

For the carrots and to assemble:

  • 1 pound

    large carrots (about 3)

  • 1 teaspoon

    coriander seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    white rice flour

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1

    small avocado

  • 1 cup

    loosely packed baby arugula

  • Flaky salt (optional)

Instructions

Make the crema:

  1. Coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems of 6 fresh cilantro sprigs (about 1/4 cup) and place in a small bowl. Finely grate the zest of 1/2 medium lime (about 1/2 teaspoon) into the bowl (reserve the lime for squeezing at the end). Add 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the carrots:

  1. Prepare a steamer for steaming. Heat the water over medium-high heat until simmering. Meanwhile, peel 1 pound large carrots (about 3). Cut on a slight diagonal into 2/3-inch thick coins.

  2. Place the carrots in an even layer in the steamer. Cover, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and steam until the carrots are tender, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1 teaspoon coriander seeds in a large skillet over medium heat and toast, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and crush gently with the pestle until very coarsely crushed. (Alternatively, transfer to a cutting board and crush with the bottom of a small saucepan or frying pan.) Reserve the skillet.

  3. Transfer the carrots to a paper or a clean kitchen towel, arranging them into a single layer. Let cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Place 1/4 cup white rice flour in a wide, shallow bowl. Fit a wire rack over a baking sheet.

  4. Cover the carrots with another paper towel or fold the kitchen towel over the carrots. Using the heel of a hand, gently press on each carrot coin until it cracks and flattens slightly but isn’t falling apart. Season the carrots on both sides with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

  5. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in the same large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Fry the carrots in 2 batches: Working with one smashed carrot at a time, coat lightly in the rice flour, shake off any excess, and place in the pan. Fry until deep golden brown on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently flip the carrots and continue frying until the second side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to the rack.

  6. Once all the carrots are fried, transfer to the bowl with the spice mixture and gently toss to coat.

Assemble the salad:

  1. Halve and pit 1 small avocado. Using a large spoon to scoop out the flesh from each half and place cut-side down on a cutting board. Cut into 1/2-inch wedges, then cut half the wedges in half again so that there are two different sizes.

  2. Arrange the fried carrots on a small platter. Nestle the avocado pieces around and on top of the carrots. Sprinkle with the coriander. Stir the sour cream mixture and dollop onto the carrots and avocado in 5 or 6 places. Scatter 1 cup loosely packed baby arugula over the top. Squeeze 1 teaspoon lime juice from the reserved lime. Drizzle the lime juice and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over everything and sprinkle with a pinch of flaky salt if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The crema can be made 2 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container. The carrots can also be cooked up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated in a loosely covered container. Smash right before cooking.