"The key to the success of this salad, my all-time favourite, is the sherry caramel - it's luscious, sweet and tart all at once," says Gilmore. "The interplay of texture with crunchy almonds, sweet roasted carrots and creamy feta is simply delicious." This recipe makes more sherry caramel than you need, but it keeps well (for at least a month covered and refrigerated); use it to dress other salads and roasted vegetables.
- 12 long carrots (1.6kg), peeled
- 200 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 200 gm natural almonds, split in half with a small knife along the seam
- 300 gm Meredith goat's feta, or sheep's milk feta
- 25 gm puffed amaranth (see note) (½ cup)
- ¼ cup edible flowers (see note)
- 150 gm caster sugar
- 375 ml oloroso sherry (1½ cups)
- 180 ml sherry vinegar
- 1For sherry caramel, stir sugar and 300ml
sherry in a deep saucepan over medium heat
until sugar dissolves (1-2 minutes). Increase
heat to high and cook without stirring until a
medium-dark caramel forms or mixture reaches
160C on a sugar thermometer (12-15 minutes).
Add remaining sherry (be careful, hot caramel
will spit), then stir while returning to the boil.
Remove from heat, add sherry vinegar and stir
thoroughly with a whisk. Cool completely before
using; it should have the consistency of golden
syrup once cooled. Makes 1½ cups.
- 2Preheat oven to 180C. Boil carrots briefly until
lightly cooked (2 minutes). Drain, toss with 50ml
extra-virgin olive oil, season and roast on an oven
tray lined with baking paper or on a silicone tray
until soft (25-30 minutes). Cool completely
- 3Roast almonds on an oven tray lined with
baking paper or on a silicone tray until golden
brown (3-4 minutes). Cool completely.
- 4Crumble feta over a platter. Cut carrots into
3cm pieces and toss in a bowl with 50ml
extra-virgin olive oil, season to taste, and scatter
carrots over the feta. Dress almonds in 50ml
extra-virgin olive oil, season to taste and scatter
on top of carrots. Scatter with puffed amaranth,
drizzle with 2 tbsp sherry caramel, or to taste,
then drizzle with remaining oil, garnish with
flowers and serve.
Puffed amaranth is available from health-food shops. Edible flowers are available from select delicatessens, greengrocers and farmers' markets. Drink suggestion by Russ Mills & Amanda Yallop