Sometimes I find myself at a recipe crossroads. I happen upon something that sounds really interesting, really different. I pause and realize that it could either go very right or very wrong. I saw Carrot Pancakes with Hummus and a Feta Salad and I was intrigued. I thought it could be great. And I was right. So right that I made it twice in a week.
Here is a little window into my life. I have this food blog. I cook a lot. We entertain a lot. I make things for dinner parties that are totally blog worthy but I only photograph those dishes a very small percentage of the time. When people are hungry and I’m trying to pull everything together, my camera is not the first thing on my mind. I will have a fleeting thought, “Oh, I would love to write about this!” and then I notice an empty wine glass or a smudge the dishwasher left on a dinner plate or a pot of soup about to bubble over and before I know it, dinner is over and the camera stayed in its case.
This one, though. This one I had to make again. And not only so I could share it with you, although that is important to me. I had to make it again because I wanted to eat it again. To be fair, this was done easily because the recipe gives you a generous amount of hummus so I had some left over. Usually I am a hummus purist. I love hummus and I don’t like it gussied up with anything other than the basics. Roasted carrots though? Yes please.
There are many things I can tell you about this dish but I will try and keep it simple. I served this as an appetizer for our dinner party last week and as more of a main course for dinner last night. You can do either and just vary the size of the pancakes. I got about 8 “pancake” size ones last night. I would imagine you can make the pancakes early in the day and just reheat them in a low oven. I threw together the feta salad last night based on what I had in my refrigerator. Add any kind of sprouts, little bits of lettuce, herbs – it will all taste good. I would say the must-haves are a really good feta and the almonds.
Please do not be scared off by the long list of ingredients. This is an easy recipe. You can make the hummus days before and the dressing up to a week before. You can even mix together the pancake ingredients (except for the water) early in the day so they are almost all ready to go. You can use the leftover dressing for your salads during the week.
For the pancakes
1 1/3 cups grated carrots (about 2 medium)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup chickpea flour
¼ cup semolina
2 tsp. salt
2/3-¾ cup water
For the hummus
3 large carrots, peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. ground cumin
For the salad
Few leaves of arugula
Few large pinches of different kinds of sprouts
2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, torn
12 mint leaves, torn
¼ cup chopped almonds
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
For the dressing
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. good olive oil
Make the hummus
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the carrots into thin slices, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes or until softened. While still hot, put them into a food processor with the remaining hummus ingredients and pulse to a smooth purée, adding a little olive oil or water if too thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Set aside.
Make the pancakes
Mix all the ingredients together, except the olive oil, to form a thick batter. Heat just a bit of oil in a large non-stick skillet and spoon in bits of batter, a couple of tablespoons or so. I found it best to use a large soup spoon and used the back of it to smooth the pancakes into more or less a round shape. Cook on one side until golden and then flip. Remove to a rack and repeat with the rest of the batter.
Make the salad
Place all the dressing ingredients in a wide mouth jar, put on the lid, and shake vigorously. (Alternatively, whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.) Put all the salad ingredients together in a medium size bowl and drizzle in a bit of dressing. Use a light hand and toss gently.
Place one or two pancakes on a plate. Top with a dollop of hummus and a large pinch of the salad.