Friday, April 29, 2011

Copper Coins

This wasn’t really the kind of recipe I usually jump at. At one time I probably would have made a face and walked away. Cooked carrots, an orange-colored retro-style dressing? I may be old-fashioned, but I’m definitely not retro. (There is a difference.) But I lingered over a recipe called “Copper Coins” in Recipes from the Root Cellar by Andrea Chesman nonetheless. I guess there’s nothing like having way too many carrots in the refrigerator to get one broaden one’s mind. Besides, the recipe was cheap and easy. I wouldn’t be out much even if I hated it.

Well, I didn’t hate it. I quite liked it in fact. I knew I would all along. Really I did.

Say what you must about a ketchup-based dressing, but there’s something satisfying about it. This one reminds me of the bottled French dressing I ate as a kid. It has, however, the fresher flavor that those of us who love to cook rely upon when it comes to homemade versus processed foods. Well, I did freshen it a little more with minced fresh ginger root (the original recipe called for powdered ginger) and updated it with a splash of Sriracha hot sauce.

I think if you love carrots, you might just love this dish. I suppose it’s really a salad, but it was a bit more satisfying at room temperature where it performed more like a vegetable side dish. The carrots are tender from a good blanching, but I think overcooking them would make this dish a disaster. If anything, I would err on the side of undercooking them so they still have some bite. I also wouldn’t go completely raw with the carrots unless you really like to crunch your way through your meal. Wait a minute. Perhaps with grated raw carrots…Hmmm…

Anyway, I liked this tangy dressing with its fresh ginger, spicy hot sauce and perky pick-up from soy sauce (trendier cooks and chefs would expound on theories involving umami here) on sweet, tender carrots. I’d never seen a recipe like this before, so its uniqueness on the modern table alone made it somewhat intriguing. Its flavor and style may be a bit retro, but some things deserve another chance.

To borrow some phrasing from the new Dr. Who, I’m retro now. Retro is cool. Although I don’t think I’ll be buying an avocado green refrigerator anytime soon.

Carrots with Ketchup-Ginger Dressing
Adapted from Recipes from the Root Cellar by Andrea Chesman

2 pounds carrots (about 5-6 large carrots)
¼ cup ketchup
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot chile sauce
¼ cup thinly sliced onion

1. Peel the carrots and slice diagonally about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.

2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set it aside. Add the carrot slices to the boiling water and cook about 3 minutes or until the carrots are tender, but still firm and not mushy. Remove the carrots from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice water. When they have completely cooled, transfer to a colander and drain well.

3. Combine the ketchup, water, olive oil, vinegar, brown sugar, minced onion, garlic, soy sauce, ginger and Sriracha in the canister of a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.

4. Transfer the drained carrots to a bowl. Add the sliced onion and the dressing mixture and toss to coat well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Other recipes like this one: Shaved Vegetable Salad with Cider Sage Vinaigrette, Simple Shredded Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette

One year ago: Coconut Cranberry Quick Bread

Two years ago: Wheat Sandwich Bread, Apricot and Almond Cookies with White Chocolate


  1. Here's a comment on an OLD post, ha ha, is IT retro?? I once sent out a recipe chain letter to my aunt. She sent me her recipe for Copper Coins with a note, "Never send me a chain letter again!" I am planning my Bunco menu for tomorrow night and thought that Copper Coins would be a fun, unique recipe to use. Alas, I couldn't find my aunt's recipe, so off to Google! Found your post and I'm planning to make your recipe for tomorrow. I'll let you know how everyone likes it!