As winter nights approach and our days become shorter, the thought of fresh, crisp vegetables and salads may seem like a summer's dream. But we can - and should - bring those healthy, colorful veggies into our kitchens and onto our plates this time of year.
Even though the air is cooler and the ground is harder in the winter, there are many colorful vegetables that thrive this time of year. Build your own rainbow plate with some of the season’s tastiest: butternut squash, deep green kale, purple cabbage, vibrant red radishes, and bright orange carrots are a few that are at peak flavor in winter. Roasting vegetables is one of the easiest, hassle-free ways to prepare them, requiring just a drizzle of your favorite oil, salt and pepper to taste, and your favorite spices - perhaps crushed red pepper or smoked paprika.
We asked Juan Cassalett, chef at Charleston’s Malagón restaurant, for his favorite winter vegetable dish. Try this delicious and vibrant dish, roasted carrots with ñora pepper sauce:
1 bag baby carrots, peeled
Approximately 10 dried ñora peppers, seeded
1 tsp crushed red pepper
8 garlic cloves
1 shallot, diced
1/3 cup Marcona almonds
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup olive oil (preferably Spanish)
Dill and pine nuts for garnish
· Roast the peppers in a pan with oils until toasted.
· Add the garlic, shallot, and almonds and cook until golden brown.
· Combine the rest of the ingredients, except the carrots, and pulse in food processor until smooth. Add more olive oil if it is too thick.
· Preheat oven to 400°F
· Roast carrots in oven with salt, pepper, and olive oil until cooked through.
· Toss carrots in ñora pepper sauce.
· Serve and garnish with fresh dill and pine nuts.
The ñora pepper is small, round, and sweet, and is a staple of Spanish cuisine. With very low heat and an earthy, smoky flavor, it’s the perfect pepper for stews, soups, paella and adds a vibrant, gorgeous color to every dish.