Monday, July 5, 2010

Go forth on the fourth ...


... and barbecue, of course!

Steaks ... check!   Skewered chicken ... check!

Carrot flan ... huh?














When I first came across this recipe at Eggs on Sunday, I thought, whoa!  Something fancy-schmancy for Thanksgiving.  Or a seder, with just a minor adjustment.  But when I noticed that the description said it could be served cold, I thought, hey, something cool, both literally AND figuratively, to serve now in this bone-melting heat.

Carrot flan, really more like a pudding-ish souffle (or a souffle-ish pudding), is major-league impressive.  The picture above doesn't do it justice.  The baby greens are a lovely contrast to the orange-y carrot color.  And the golden dressing unites them.  Everyone will ooh and aah and think you spent hours working on it (let them, you deserve it).  Except for the aunt who is on an eternal taste-free diet and complains that it's too fancy for her to eat.  The rest of the relatives will be too busy devouring it to notice her kvetching.

Hubby, who doesn't like carrots, ate his entire serving.  YoungerSon ate most of it and decreed that it henceforth should be served warm.  And on nicer plates.  By the way, the remaining serving heated up well at lunch today without turning spongy, which means that it can be made a day ahead if necessary.

To me, it was a little bland  (a good thing for that relative who thinks one clove of garlic in a vat of soup is spicy), so I bumped up the pepper just a tad, and added a bit of nutmeg.  Next time I make this I'll try to remember to add a pinch ginger as well and let you know the results.

I only had whole carrots in the fridge, so I was forced to take the extra step and peel and cut up the carrots. 














To make up for the lost time, I cheated a lot a bit on the dressing:  it's basically a honey-mustard, so I used the bottled stuff instead and skipped the step about dressing the greens first.  Except the dressing was a little thick, so the light drizzle I was looking for became a drenching, which totally obscured the flan.  Next time, I'll make the dressing from scratch and pre-dress the greens.  And spoon it decoratively around, instead of on, the flan.

Carrot Flan with Baby Greens and Lemon-Mustard Dressing

Adapted from Eggs on Sunday
Makes 6 servings

1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel (optional)
2 tsp. chopped garlic (bottled ok)

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
 1/2 cup olive oil

12 oz. bag baby carrots (about  2 1/2 cups)
4 eggs
1/2 cup soy milk (or parve creamer)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or more, to taste)
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

about 1 cup of baby greens

Make dressing:  In cruet or  jar with lid, add the lemon juice, lemon peel (if using), garlic, mustard,  honey, salt and pepper. Swirl the bottle around to gently mix the ingredients.  Add the oil, cover tightly and shake well to combine.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.














Make flan:  Cook baby carrots in salted boiling water (enough to cover) until tender, about 8 minutes.














Drain and puree in a food processor or hand-held blender until smooth.  Let cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 6 3/4-cup ramekins or pyrex cups and set aside.  Heat several cups of water to boiling.














While waiting for the water to boil, whisk the pureed carrots together with the eggs, soy milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a 1 quart measuring cup. Yes, I know that's not a whisk in the photo, but I didn't own a meat or parve whisk so I grabbed a salad fork.  Work with me here.














Divide the mixture evenly among the ramekins (I used larger pyrex cups so only 4 of them were needed).

Place ramekins in a baking pan and set pan  in oven. When the water reaches a boil, carefully add it to the baking pan so that the water goes up at least halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Cover the pan loosely with foil.  Bake for at 30-45 minutes, or until the flan is set and a knife inserted near (not in) the center of one comes out clean (check at the 30 minute mark, if not set check every 5 minutes after that).














Remove the ramekins from the baking dish and let cool slightly before unmolding.   If not serving right away, leave flan in ramekins, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Gently heat flan, if desired, in microwave before continuing with recipe.

To serve, place the baby greens  in a large bowl. Drizzle a little of the dressing over the greens and gently toss.  You just want to barely moisten the greens.














Run a knife around the inside of the ramekins to loosen the flans, then invert each over a plate to unmold. Use nicer plates, even if it's "just" a barbecue (youngerSon's tip).














Top each flan with a handful of dressed  greens.














Don't cover the flan completely with dressing as you see above.  Lightly and decoratively spoon remaining dressing around the flans.

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