There are certain flavors that I return to, again and again, because they please me so deeply. Like a favorite song, I play with them over and over, comforted by the repetition. While I sometimes alter the setting, some flavor combinations are steady old friends I know I can count on time and again.
On the flip side, I also adore novelty. I am lucky enough to live near a fabulous spice shop with a solid selection of basics, as well as a fascinating array of individual spices and intense, pungent blends. The visits I love best are the ones where I discover a new-to-me flavor, or a new combination that enlivens a favorite dish with new flavors.
This side dish came about as a blend of both these leanings. The carrots and onions, of course, are a classic combination: they are two-thirds of the traditional French mirepoix, and are used in a million other dishes.
The new-to-me element is Nigella Sativa* (AKA charnuska, black caraway seed, kalonji). Found in many eastern European dishes, it also stars in Indian food as well. I have recently been reading about the health benefits of it, and it seems to be very nearly a wonder drug, being useful for diabetics, people with hypertension and even seizures. With all those benefits, I would probably take it anyway; happily, it also tastes delicious. I usually pair it with fish.
- Eight large carrots, washed
- One large onion, peeled and sliced
- Two tablespoons oil, divided
- One tablespoon turmeric
- Two tablespoons nigella
- Two tablespoons chives (or fresh herb of your choice).
- Trim the carrots at top and bottom. In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, "chip" the carrots by pulsing them for 30 seconds at a time until they are in small, triangular chunks (you may need to work in batches so that the carrots are all about the same size and shape).
- Warm a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of oil to the pan, swirling it around until its surface is fully coated. Add the spices to the oil and warm them through, stirring occasionally, for approximately two minutes or just until they are fragrant.
- Add the onions to the pan. Cook them until they are translucent, approximately five to eight minutes.
- Add the chipped carrots (and reserved oil if needed) to the pan, cooking them for approximately eight to ten minutes, until they are just tender. Remove from the heat and mix in herbs.
- Serve immediately.
* = Affiliate link.