Roasted Carrots and Fennel With Rose Petal Harissa 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dec 31, 2014

This terrific roasted vegetable dish, which is served at room temperature, depends on the flavor of its bright, rose-scented harissa. Lime, rose petals and rose water all lend a faint floral finishing note to the taste of the condiment.

Be sure to space the vegetables evenly on the baking sheet; you want them to crisp and brown, not steam.

Make Ahead: The dried chilies for the harissa need to soak for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. The harissa needs to cure in the refrigerator for 1 day before serving; it can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 months. (You’ll have quite a bit left over after you make the carrot-fennel recipe.)

Where to Buy: Dried rose petals and rose water are available at Mediterranean markets.


Servings:
4 - 6

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: 4-6 servings

Ingredients
  • For the harissa
  • 3 ounces dried guajillo chile peppers, stemmed (not seeded)
  • 1 1/2 ounces dried ají amarillo chile peppers (also sold as ají mirasol), stemmed (not seeded)
  • Just-boiled water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons caraway seed
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • About 3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rose petals (see headnote)
  • 10 to 12 tablespoons lime juice (from 4 to 6 limes), or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon rose water (see headnote)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for storing
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, or more as needed
  • For the vegetables
  • 2 bunches medium carrots (6-inch carrots, about 12 ounces), trimmed but not peeled, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices through the core (core is not discarded)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons crunchy sel gris (gray salt)
  • Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon or Jacobsen, for finishing
  • 1 1/2 cups plain European-style whole milk yogurt, or Greek yogurt thinned with a bit of olive oil, for serving

Directions

For the harissa: Combine the chili peppers in a medium pot, adding enough of the just-boiled water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove the pot from the heat and weight the chilies with a smaller pan to ensure they're all submerged. Allow them to sit, covered, for at least 2 hours or until they are soft. (Depending on the chilies, it might not take that long; just make sure the skins are soft.) Drain; reserve the soaking water.

Combine the caraway, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they are toasted and fragrant, and some of them begin to pop. Transfer the spices to a plate to cool.

Once the spices have cooled, transfer them to a food processor; pulse until the spices are ground almost to a powder. Add the garlic and rose petals, and pulse about 10 times to form a dry paste.

Working in two batches, and wearing gloves if you're sensitive to spice, add half of the soaked chilies to the food processor, along with any water that comes along for the ride. Add half of the lime juice and half of the rose water; pulse until the chilies are finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides and top of the food processor bowl as needed. (This might take 3 or 4 minutes total, so be patient. You're looking for the texture of small-curd cottage cheese.) If the mixture seems too thick, add some of the reserved cooking/soaking water, about 2 tablespoons at a time, until the mixture moves easily in the food processor.

Once the chilies are finely chopped, add half of the oil and half of the salt; pulse until well incorporated. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid; repeat with the remaining harissa ingredients, adding the processed mixture to the container.

Taste for seasoning, adding a little more lime juice and salt, as needed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 day before using. To store long-term, scoop the harissa into pint-size jars, pour a thin layer of oil on top and refrigerate for up to 2 months. The yield is a generous 3 cups.

For the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Arrange the carrots and fennel on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with half of the oil, turning to coat, then sprinkle with the gray salt. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan and turning the vegetables halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and well browned. Allow the vegetables to cool to room temperature.

Combine the remaining oil with 2 or 3 tablespoons (to taste) of the harissa in a large bowl. (If your harissa is especially thick, you might need another tablespoon or two of oil, just so it's thin enough to coat the vegetables.) Add the vegetables, turn to coat them evenly with the harissa mixture, and season lightly with the sea salt.

To serve, smear the yogurt on a serving plate. Pile the vegetables on top and serve at room temperature, drizzled with oil.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from "A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories," by Renee Erickson with Jess Thomson (Sasquatch Books, 2014).

Tested by Sandhya Babu.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.