Garrett MacFalda, Heirloom Cafe
- 6 medium carrots, scrubbed but not peeled
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1/2 jalapeño chile, minced
- 1 serrano chile, minced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp relish
- 1 tsp seeded mustard
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 jalapeño chile
- 2 quarts water, for blanching
- Salt, enough to make the blanch water taste like the sea
First, slice off the very top end of the carrots by the greens. Reserve the greens for future use, but keep a few frills for garnish. From here, slice the carrots into three equal segments. The topmost will become the base for the deviled carrots, the center piece will become the stuffing, and the thinnest bottom third will become the pickles to finish.
For the base: Cut each base portion vertically to make half cylinders, and then cut the curved outer carrot flat so the bases will sit face up. Blanch these pieces for about 2-5 minutes, long enough to bite through easily but not so long they’re mushy or hard to pick up. Once they’re ready, drop them into an ice bath until they’re about room temperature, then dry them on a paper towel.
For the stuffing: Roughly dice the middle portions of the carrot and sauté with a little neutral oil. Cook the carrot until very soft, keeping them moving to prevent scorching them. If they’re sticking, add a little water to let them steam, and cook down further. Once the carrots are soft, puree them in a food processor and pass through a fine sieve to remove any stringy fibrous bits. Add the minced chile, paprika, relish and seeded mustard, then salt to taste.
For the pickles: Slice the thin bottom end portions of the carrots into discs as finely as possible, then add the crushed cloves of garlic and remaining jalapeño in a heat-safe bowl. Boil the white vinegar, water and salt together in a small pot, and then pour over the carrots. Let cool, making sure the pickling brine completely covers the carrot discs.
Assembly: Arrange the base portions face up, cutting the largest pieces down to bite size if you had large carrots. Spoon the stuffing mixture evenly onto each piece, and garnish the tops with pickled carrot. Use the greens to make a bed on a platter for your deviled carrots, or dress a few fronds in olive oil, kosher salt and few drops of fresh lemon juice and garnish the tops.
Makes 12 canapés, more with larger carrots.