I often find myself yearning for the rich flavor, sweet smoke and complexity that only a BBQ can impart. Over time, I have learned that often, the longer you cook a carrot, the better. In fact, the perfect carrot is nearing that of being totally burnt. Unfortunately, this often takes a pretty long time. Lucky for us, this recipe combines seasoning the carrots, tossing them in a hot cast-iron pan and then roasting them for total perfection. The carrots become tender on the inside and infused with spice, while caramelizing on the outside. Enjoy!
For the spice rub: Combine the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat and toast until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Use a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle to grind the seeds. If using a spice grinder, transfer the ground spices to a small bowl. Mix in the smoked paprika, sweet paprika, celery salt and pepper.
For the carrots: Drizzle the carrots with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the spice rub and toss to combine.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the carrots on all sides until charred, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the carrots from the oven, add the maple syrup and gently toss to coat the carrots. Roast until the carrots are just caramelized, about 5 minutes longer.
For the yogurt: Whisk together the yogurt, sumac, salt, pepper, buttermilk, and lemon juice in a medium bowl until smooth.
To finish: Spoon a few tablespoons of the sumac yogurt onto a serving platter and spread to make an even layer. Place the carrots over the yogurt and top with the pistachios, a pinch of sumac, mint leaves, dill, lemon zest and the reserved carrot tops. Serve with sumac yogurt on the side.
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