How to Make a Carrot Steak (recipe)

The All-American diet has made vegetables a sideshow at great cost to our health, our palate, and our planet. Here’s an example of bringing a superstar vegetable front and center.

Photograph by Andre Baranowski

Makes 6 servings

6 medium carrots (about 8 inches/20 cm long and ¾ inch/2 cm wide), peeled
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
1 tsp (5 ml) each: granulated sugar, kosher salt
Generous grind black pepper

½ cup (125 ml) each: panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), whole wheat panko (or other dried breadcrumbs)
¼ cup (60 ml) white rice flour
2 tsp (10 ml) ground cumin
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour (approximate)
½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Lay 3 large pieces aluminum foil on counter, overlapping slightly. Place carrots on top in single layer. Drizzle with oil. Season with sugar, salt, and pepper. Wrap tightly; place on baking tray. Roast in oven 1 hour; flip foil package. Roast 1 more hour or until carrots are very soft. When cool enough to handle, unwrap carrots.

Line baking tray with parchment paper. Lay carrots on tray, leaving some space between each. Top with another piece of parchment paper and another baking tray. Place a heavy weight, such as several cans of food, on top of tray to press down carrots. Let press 10 minutes. If carrots are cooked properly they will press into “cutlets” instead of breaking. (You can make ahead to here if desired and refrigerate until ready to cook.)

For coating, create a breading station.

On large plate, stir together panko, whole wheat panko or breadcrumbs, rice flour, and cumin. Put egg on second large plate, and put all-purpose flour on third large plate.

Dredge carrots in flour, turning to coat all over and shaking off any excess. Roll next in egg. Finally, roll in panko mixture until coated on all sides. Place carrots on cutting board until ready to cook.

In large frying pan, heat oil over medium. In 2 batches, carefully add carrot cutlets and fry until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain, and serve.

Lamb Sauce

Dan Barber’s third plate idea started with a beef sauce to side carrot cutlets. The recipe he gave me called for lamb shanks, which I buy from Mister Greek Meat Market (801 Danforth Ave.). My two shanks cost $10. Use whatever meat you like—Barber suggests beef shank, oxtail, tongue or liver.

2 lamb shanks (about 2-1/2 lb/1.2 kg), patted dry
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup (250 mL) dry red wine
1/2 cup (125 mL) ruby port
1 sprig rosemary
3/4 cup (180 mL) water

Season lamb with salt and pepper.

In large skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high. Add shanks. Brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to roasting pan. Discard oil. Add remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil to skillet. Add onions, carrot, celery and garlic. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes to brown. Add wine and port. Raise heat to high; boil until reduced to 1/3 cup (75 mL), about 4 minutes.

Transfer vegetable mixture to roasting pan. Add rosemary and water. Cover with lid or foil. Bake in preheated 325F (160C) oven until lamb is very tender, about 2 hours, turning meat once.

Transfer lamb to cutting board. When cool enough to handle, shred meat, discarding fat, gristle and bones. You should have about 2 cups (500 mL) meat.

Meanwhile, strain pan juices into medium saucepan, discarding vegetables and herbs. Boil over high heat until reduced to 1 cup (250 mL), about 7 minutes. Add shredded meat.

Herb Salad

When I think of salad, I default to lettuce. But chefs like Dan Barber love to mix things up with fresh herbs. No dressing needed. Don’t worry if you can’t find all five herbs. Just use what you like.

1 cup (250 mL) each: picked tarragon and flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup (125 mL) each: picked dill, mint and chervil leaves

In a medium bowl, mix together tarragon, parsley, dill, mint and chervil.

Apricot Purée

This lovely condiment brings summer fruit into a meal year-round. Serve a dollop of it with meat or vegetables, or even just spread it on toast.

2 cups (500 mL) orange juice
1 cup (250 mL) dried apricots
3 tbsp (45 mL) Champagne or white wine vinegar

In medium saucepan, bring orange juice to boil over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced by half, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add apricots and vinegar. Reduce heat to medium; Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes.

Transfer to blender or food processor and purée. Serve warm or cold.

Makes 1 cup (250 mL).

This web extra provides additional information related to an article titled, “Eat Well, Heal the Earth,” which appeared in the April 2015 issue of Mindful magazine.