Greetings from Cape Cod. While I am enjoying a weekend of fun and sun with my friends at the Cape, I thought I would share some quick and easy sides to serve at your parties this weekend.
If you’re entertaining for the 4th, your guests are probably going to want something a little more than that pasta salad you make every year. That cute little display of chips and salsa or the plate of veggies and ranch you bought pre-made at the supermarket is getting a little old. Let’s be serious… you’ve been serving that forever. Don’t get me wrong, these sides are great and all, but it’s about time for something new, fresh, easy, different, TASTAY and actually healthy.
When I first saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I was really excited to make it because I love carrots and I can never think of new and interesting ways to make them. Carrots can be really boring, but NOT ANYMORE! This dish is really, really good. When carrots are mixed with feta, mint and harissa (I hadn’t heard of it either) it makes for a light, refreshing and tasty summer dish that no 4th of July party should be without.
Harissa is a spice from Northern Africa (Tunisia and Alergia mainly) that has a very unique taste. I thought it would be pretty hard to track down in the supermarket, but after about 15 minutes of staring at spices, my friend Marcelo finally spotted it! It’s out there, you just have to look. If it’s not out there, go to a specialty store and get it, totally worth the trip. This is the kind we found at Whole Foods.
- 3/4 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and coarsely grated
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds or about half as much, ground
- 3/4 tsp cumin seeds or about half as much, ground
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 3/4 tsp harissa (adjust to taste, I like a little more)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
- 100 grams feta, crumbled or chopped into bits
In a pan, sauté the garlic, caraway, cumin, paprika, harissa and sugar in the oil until fragrant, for about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Pour over the carrots and mix. Add the herbs and mix. Leave to infuse for an hour, ADD THE CHEESE. EAT. EAT MORE, not leaving any for anyone else.
2) Grilled Asparagus with Honey and Sherry Vinegar – from The New Spanish Table by Anya Von Bremzen
I made this side dish when I made the Spanish Tortilla. It’s easy to make and it’s different from the traditional garlicky lemon asparagus that we all know and love. This is almost sweet and sour tasting, and it goes great with the grilled flavoring. When I first made it, I sauteed the asparagus because I don’t have a grill and it was still really good!
- 2 lbs asparagus, trimmed
- 4 tbsp EVOO
- 1.5 tsp honey
- 3 tbsp sherry vingear, preferably aged
- Course sale (kosher or sea)
- Ground pepper
- Flakey sea salt for serving
- Light the grill, preheat it to medium, or preheat the broiler.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough skin off the lower stalk of the asaparagus. Rinse the asparagus, pat dry with paper towels, toss with 1 tbsp of EVOO.
- Place the honey, vinegar, and remaining EVOO in a bowl and whisk to mix. Season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Grill or broil the asparagus until tender, turning once. 3 minutes per side.
- Arrange the asparagus on a serving plate, toss with sauce and sprinkle flakey sea salt on top. Serve!
HAPPY 4th EVERYONE!