Salt-Baked Carrots and Beets

Chef Seamus Mullen, is the chef and owner of Tertulia, which has become my go-to place to feed my insatiable, endless, craving for Spanish food. They have authentic tapas, perfectly paired with peerless wine as well as crunchy, Pan con Tomate, (Grandaisy bread topped with fresh garlic and ripe tomatoes) as well as many other things. I dream, nightly, too, about the tosta matramonia, which is black and white anchovies, with slow roasted tomatoes, sheep’s milk cheese and aged balsamic.

Chef Mullen has a new cookbook out, and it’s at bookstores now. The inspiration, or initial foundation, of this new book is derived from his on going battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis, (Click here to read a wonderful NY Times article by Jeff Gordinier). And while the book is not intended to be cure-all, ‘diet’ book, per say, it is a personal journey that includes great recipes, that you can use, and also recipes that can provide him with relief from the physical pain he endures from this debilitating disease.

Photographer Colin Clark, a contributor to “Three to One”, photographed the book, and his shots, look amazing. He tells me it was an incredible experience that took over a year to complete. They started shooting in Fall 2009, at Seamus’ mother’s farm in Vermont, where they, in true head-to-tail, farm-to-table fashion, butchered three lambs and cooked and ate every part of the animal. The next shoot was in May 2010, when they all went to Barcelona to shoot all of the Spanish and Winter sections. The rest was shot during Summer, in Long Island, (NY), except for the Spring section, which they shot on the roof of Seamus’ New York city apartment, and then in Fall 2010 the book was finished!

Colin says that one of the most memorial days of shooting, was when they all traveled to a small town a few hours south of Madrid to an olive farm which produces all the olive oil that Seamus buys for his restaurant. It’s called Valderrama. It’s very high quality, small batch. They camped out there for a few days, and on their last day there, cranked out about 10 dishes in the borrowed kitchen of the olive farm restaurant. They packed up and drove out, heading back to Madrid, where they were flying home the next day. On the way back, driving north, from their car windows, they spied a crumbling old edifice on a hillside adorned with an old orchard of ancient olive trees. Olive trees hundreds of years old that have been essentially left untouched. They pulled off the road drove up this very steep dirt path, parked, and walked up onto the hillside and through the orchard, in quiet amazement of the beauty of the place. It was dusk, the sun was setting, the light was perfect. No one said a word. It was a moment that Colin, and no doubt Seamus, will never forget.

Seamus kindly agreed to part with a recipe from his new cookbook, just for my blog! (Thank you Seamus!) It’s the Salt-baked Carrots and Beets, which Colin says despite the amount of salt used, doesn’t taste salty, at all—more like a crunchy and supremely flavorful dish, almost the way food was intended to taste. Enjoy!

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SALT-BAKED CARROTS AND BEETS

From Seamus Mullen’s book “Hero Food”

A Few years ago we were playing around in the kitchen with salt-crusted whole fish. We made all sorts of salt crusts, some with herbs, some with scraps of ham. Somewhere along the way we came up with the idea of cooking vegetables the same way. I remember having tried a dish in Spain, years ago, called papas arrugaduas, or “wrinkled potatoes,” and I seem to recall the spuds were baked in the oven on a bed of salt. This recipe for many colored carrots and beets takes that idea and then does what I like to do—drops a bunch of flavor into the mix. The spices and herbs make these roots rock out. —Seamus Mullen.

1 pound of Kosher Salt
Zest of Lemon
2 tablespoons of Pink Peppercorns
2 tablespoons of Black Peppercorns
2 branches fresh Rosemary
2 branches of fresh Thyme
1 bunch of small Carrots, trimmed
1 bunch small Beets, trimmed.

Preheat the oven 350 degrees. In a large roasting pan combine the kosher salt, lemon zest,  pink and black peppercorns, rosemary, and thyme and mix thoroughly. Add the carrots and beets and cover completely with salt.  Bake until the veggies are cooked through and tender, 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the vegetables. Once thoroughly cooked, remove from the oven and scrape off the skin using a dish towel or the back of a pairing knife. Serves 4 as a nice side dish.

Chef Seamus Mullen is the chef/owner of Tertulia,
to visit his restaurant, click here.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY COLIN CLARK
To see his work, click here.

COLIN CLARK is a photographer who grew up on a dead-end dirt road in Southern Vermont. He picked up his first camera at the unbelievably tender age of 19, (or 20).  He is inspired by open spaces and mottled light. He loves to shoot pictures riding no-handed on his old Swedish tenspeed. 

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One thought on “Salt-Baked Carrots and Beets

  1. luv ya work.I’ve been trying to grow purple carrots for the last three years no success.Crunchy? must try it.

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