Sesame Crusted Feta With Honey-Roasted Carrots 4.000

Renée Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Plate Lab Jun 13, 2014

At Iron Gate in Dupont Circle, executive chef Anthony Chittum gives a crunchy exterior to creamy, briny feta cheese in a hearty appetizer that he pairs with seasonal root vegetables: In late spring, it's roasted carrots, which look nice with trimmed green tops.

Use the best-quality sheep's-milk feta you can find; a good widely available brand is President Valbreso. You'll need an instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature of the frying oil.

Make Ahead: The carrots can be roasted and refrigerated for up to 1 week; reheat in a low oven before serving.


Servings:
4

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

Ingredients
  • 1 pound carrots (preferably thin), scrubbed well
  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1-pound block feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (preferably sheep's-milk; see headnote)
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Have a large rimmed baking sheet at hand.

If any of the carrots are fatter than 1/2-inch thick, cut them in half lengthwise; leave the thin carrots whole. Spread all the carrots in a single layer on the baking sheet; toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 tablespoon of the honey and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast until tender and caramelized, 10 to 20 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Heat the remaining 3 cups of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, to 350 degrees. Place a cooling rack over a pan or paper towels to catch drips.

Spread the flour in a shallow bowl; in a second shallow bowl, whisk the egg until well blended. In a third, whisk together the panko and sesame seeds. Coat each slice of feta thoroughly in the following order: flour, egg, panko mixture.

Carefully place the breaded feta slices in the hot oil, working in batches to avoid crowding. Fry until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a spatula or slotted spoon to carefully transfer each slice to the cooling rack, letting any excess oil drain.

Divide the carrots among serving plates, top with the feta. Use the remaining 1/4 cup honey and the balsamic vinegar to drizzle over each portion. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from Anthony Chittum, executive chef of Iron Gate in Dupont Circle.

Tested by Joe Yonan.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.