"Thinnings" is a gardener's term for the immature vegetables that are pulled from a seeded row to allow the rest to grow. You can find carrot thinnings, smaller than your pinky finger, in farmers markets, often bunched with larger carrots; or you can use baby carrots -- just not the bagged version sold in supermarkets, which are simply larger carrots machine-cut down to size.
To turn this into a main course, the author suggests adding spoonfuls of ricotta or cottage cheese to which you have added pepper and some of the dressing.
- 6 small beets, stems and thick root ends removed
- 36 immature carrots, no thicker than your pinky finger
- Pinch sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
- Freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- A good handful of cilantro leaves (about 4 tablespoons)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Fill a large, wide pan with 1 1/2 inches of water and place over medium heat. Add the beets. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, then add the carrots; cover and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the beets and carrots are tender. Drain.
When they are cool enough to handle, slip off and discard the vegetable skins. Cut the beets into thin strips about the same size as the carrots.
Combine the pinch of sea salt and the vinegar in a medium, nonreactive bowl, then whisk in the garlic, lemon juice and oil until emulsified. Add the beets, carrots and cilantro; toss to combine.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Adapted from "Tender: A Cook and his Vegetable Patch," by British author and television personality Nigel Slater (Ten Speed Press, 2011).
Tested by Tim Carman.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.