Metropole’s burnt carrot salad.

When Rob and I first had dinner at Metropole, the lovely restaurant in Cincinnati’s 21c Museum Hotel, we were gobsmacked by a simple salad of charred carrots. Metropole’s culinary m.o. is cooking over a wood-fired hearth, and these carrots were blistered and blackened to a charry sweetness, then topped with toasted seeds, avocado and Feta cheese. Seriously, I dreamed of this salad.

(In fact, it inspired an exploration of non-lettuce salad recipes that I’ve shared here, including a roasted carrot and red pepper salad and a spring salad with peas and mint.)

As I compiled The Findlay Market Cookbook and sought recipes from local chefs, I held out hope that then-Metropole-chef Michael Paley would share his recipe for the burnt carrot salad. And he did. And I’m happy to pass it along to you here!

Metropole's burnt carrot salad recipe

serves 4

2 large carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 firm avocados, halved and thickly sliced
1/2 cup Feta cheese
1/4 cup pickled red onion (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons toasted, salted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Cut the carrots in half lengthwise, then in 3-inch lengths. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of well-salted water to a simmer; poach the carrots until they're just tender, about 8 minutes. Preheat a grill to medium. Toss the carrots gently with a bit of olive oil, and grill them until they're nice and charred. Set the carrots aside at room temperature to cool. To make the salad, combine the carrots, avocado, Feta, pickled onion and herbs. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil; very gently toss the ingredients to blend. Divide among 4 plates and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

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