Monday, April 28, 2014

Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Cauliflower with Keta Salmon

The carrot and it’s elongated, triangular shape and bright orange color is probably the most recognizable vegetable around.   
Did you know not all carrots are orange?  There are purple carrots, red carrots even yellow carrots.  In fact, it is believed that the first carrots were indeed purple and not orange at all. Orange carrots came along after, natural selection developed a yellow carrot.  The yellow carrot plant was then crossed (hybridized) with the original purple carrot and orange carrots developed. 

 Each carrot color varies in flavor; slightly ranging from hints of floral notes to peppery.  Aside from the difference in color and taste they also have different health benefits. 
Orange Carrots contain beta carotene and alpha-carotene, both of which are orange pigments. They are high in Vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyes. Vitamin A also maintains the surface linings of the respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts and regulates the immune system by helping white blood cells fight infections.
Yellow carrots contain xanthophylls and lutene, which are pigments similar to beta carotene.  Yellow carrots are also beneficial to eye health but they also may prevent lung and other cancers and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
Red carrots are get their color from lycopene, which is another form of carotene that is also found in tomatoes and watermelon. Lycopene is associated with the reducing the risk of macular degeneration, preventing heart disease and a wide variety of cancers including prostate cancer.
Purple carrots are usually orange or white on the inside and have even more beta carotene than their orange cousins. They get their purple pigment from anthocyanins, which is the same antioxidant in blueberries.  Anthocyanins, blocking free radicals from damaging the cell and may help prevent heart.  They also act as an affective anti inflammatory.  Research has also found this blue pigmented antioxidant to be beneficial for retaining memory function and providing protection against urinary tract infections.

Tonight I am using these rainbow carrots in our dinner.  I will be roasting them very simply with some diced onion, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.  This really brings out their sweet flavor.  Really, a few of them were similar in flavor to salted caramel.  No need for artificial sweeteners.  We have been provided with a natural bounty of sweetness.   
I peeled and thickly sliced these carrots to show off their bright, beautiful colors.  I would caution against boiling them, as this will reduce the vividness of their colors and weaken the intensity of their taste.  Not to mention, some of the nutrients will be lost in the water.  If I wasn’t showing these carrots off for the blog, I would have lightly washed them, trimmed the tops and bottoms and cooked them un-peeled.  This would have kept the varying flavors more locked in and prevented bleeding out of the colors.  But aren’t you glad I didn’t.  I mean look at the inside of this purple carrot. Isn’t it AWESOME!
Purple Carrot

I prepared the cauliflower in much the same way. Washed. Patted dry. Tossed with some minced garlic and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  I put both veggies in the oven at a temperature of 375 and cooked covered for about 25 min or until tender and uncovered for another 10 minutes to brown them up. 

Now for the Keta Salmon.  This was a little more labor intensive.  I got some coals hot on the grill.  Lightly rubbed some coconut oil on the filets of salmon. Then I sprinkled with sea salt, garlic powder and onion powder.  Cooked each side for about 3-5 minutes, until salmon started to whiten and felt firmer to the touch.  

Yes that was it!  Let me tell you, when you start with quality ingredients you don’t need to fuss with them too much for everything to come together in a symphony of flavors.  If you have a problem getting your children to eat their veggies I suggest you to prepare some roasted rainbow carrots and cauliflower.  When they try it, they will surely love it.

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