Roasted Carrot Harissa and Crème Fraiche Crostini

By • February 28, 2011 • 81 Comments



Author Notes: This was inspired by the recent post “How Food52 Does Oscars;” I have loved film, going to the movies, being swept away by a beautiful story, a gritty drama, or a suspenseful thriller for almost as long as I have loved food. The natural sweetness of roasted carrots contrasts the spice and heat of this versatile condiment. Topped with a touch of tangy crème fraiche and served on a crunchy garlic and olive oil kissed crostini, this is my nod to harissa, and to the Best Picture of 1997, The English Patient (one of my favorites). The roasted carrot harissa would also be delicious with grilled meats, or eggs. Note: Since the heat of individual chiles vary, for a milder carrot harissa, use only one Chile de Arbol, or omit entirely. gingerroot

Food52 Review: Warm, savory spices like cumin and coriander always bring out the best in sweet, roasted roots and gingerroot's earthy carrot harissa is no exception. Nearly everything in this dish can be tweaked to your taste: lemon juice, garlic, salt, and perhaps most importantly the heat from the dried chiles. We love the whisper of garlic swiped over the toasts, and the smart suggestion to use the carrot greens as a garnish. - A&MA&M

Makes about 1 cup of harissa for many crostini

  • 3 dried Anaheim or California chilies, stemmed, seeded
  • 3 dried Chile de Arbol chilies (each about two inches in length), stemmed, seeded
  • 2 1/2 cups cups carrots, peeled and sliced ½-inch thick, on the bias (I used 5 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • a few pinches of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more if necessary
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon black caraway seeds
  • 1 medium garlic clove, rough chopped (about 1 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste if necessary
  • 1 Baguette, sliced ¼ inch thick on the bias
  • Garlic clove, cut in half (plus more if necessary)
  • Olive oil, for brushing on baguette slices
  • Italian parsley, Cilantro or Carrot leaves (tops), torn into small pieces, for garnish
  • Crème Fraiche (between 1/2 -1 teaspoon per crostini)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Use kitchen shears to cut dried chilies into ½ inch wide pieces. Place chile pieces in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let chiles stand for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place carrot slices on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with cumin, a pinch or two of sea salt and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over carrots. Toss to coat evenly. Set your timer for 15 minutes and put carrots in oven to roast, shaking pan once halfway through. When there are four minutes of cooking time left, add coriander seeds and black caraway to carrot mixture, using a wooden spoon to combine. When your timer goes off, remove pan from oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Drain water from chilies and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add spiced roasted carrots, making sure to scrape all of the oil from the pan in as well. Add chopped garlic clove and process for 20 seconds before scraping down mixture with a spatula and pulsing again. At this point, scrape, add lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and process until you have a thick paste (You want this to be thick so that it will stand its own on the crostini without making it soggy). Taste for salt and acid, adding more to taste if necessary. Transfer harissa to a container with an airtight lid, cover top surface with a drizzle of olive oil and let mixture sit at least one hour and up to 24 (in refrigerator) before using.
  5. When ready to make and serve crostini, remove harissa and crème fraiche from refrigerator to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange baguette pieces on a large rimmed baking sheet. Rub raw garlic halves on tops of baguette slices. Using a pastry brush, paint each piece of bread with olive oil. Toast bread until golden, about 5-7 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove pan from oven and allow crostini to cool slightly.
  6. Spread desired amount of roasted carrot harissa on each crostini, top with a touch of crème fraiche (about ½-1 teaspoon per slice) and carrot leaves. Serve and enjoy!
Jump to Comments (81)

Comments (81) Questions (2)

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4 months ago bgebbqfanatic

This was fantastic, I used quick harissa from mourad's new morrocan cookbook, and topped it with goats cheese, I think roasted parsnips may also work really well with this, thank you its a keeper.

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4 months ago gingerroot

Thanks for letting me know! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Keep me posted if you try it with parsnips...

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6 months ago Brsboarder

How would you make this if you already have harissa paste? What type of carrot harissa ratio would you use?

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6 months ago gingerroot

Hi Brsboarder,
I'd go ahead and roast the carrots with spices as written and then when you get to step 4, I'd start by adding a tablespoon of harissa at a time. How much more to add would depend on how spicy your paste is, how spicy you want the finished harissa to be etc. I can tell you that the finished carrot harissa definitely has some heat, although the sweetness of the carrot provides a nice balance. I'd love to hear how it turns out.

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7 months ago jillyp

I'm late to the game, but made this for NYE last night. It was delicious, and just as good spread on toast with a fried egg this morning!

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7 months ago gingerroot

Hi jillyp! Happy New Year! Apologies for the belated reply...I'm thrilled you enjoyed this recipe.

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11 months ago za'atar

The carrot harissa is surprisingly well-balanced. I was expecting it to be too spicy, but the sweetness of the carrots came through beautifully and the pepper choices created a pleasant warming sensation rather than a kill-your-taste buds spice. I will definitely be making this again throughout the fall and winter.

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11 months ago gingerroot

Hi za'atar, So glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for letting me know!

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11 months ago Zoe C

Gorgeously sweet and tangy harissa. I topped the crostini with goats cheese rather than creme fraiche because I happened to have it in the fridge, it was luscious.

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11 months ago gingerroot

Hi Zoe C! Thanks for letting me know. I'm thrilled you enjoyed this recipe.

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12 months ago Lost_in_NYC

OMG. This is completely divine! The tangy-ness of the creme fraiche offsets the spiciness of the carrot harissa beautifully. I made a few tweaks and it came out excellent. Thank you gingerroot for a gourmet recipe that is super easy!

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12 months ago gingerroot

Thanks for letting me know, Lost_in_NYC! I'm thrilled you enjoyed this.

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over 1 year ago Madgie

Brought this to a New Year'sEve party and it wash a HUGE hit! Everyone loved it. thanks for an interesting and different treat!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

You are so welcome, Madgie! Thanks for letting me know!

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about 2 years ago PistachioDoughnut

Hi, gingerroot- I had made these recently for my party of mozzarella making...everyone loved these so much..one of them even said she did not like carrots but she loved these. Thanks for the recipe.

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about 2 years ago gingerroot

Hi PistachioDoughnut, Thanks so much for letting me know. I'm thrilled everyone enjoyed these...even more so with someone who did not like carrots. Sorry for the belated response, I just found your comment now.

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about 2 years ago themeaningoffood

Wow, how innovative. I love the colour! This looks amazing and impressive to guests

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about 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you! I'm sorry my reply is so belated, I have not been getting my notification emails and just discovered it now. I hope you enjoy this if you try it!

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over 2 years ago KirstenS

Thanks, gingerroot - I was looking for a vegan-friendly hors d'oeuvres that got beyond variations-on-a-theme-of-hummus of a holiday cocktail party, and this totally fit the bill. One comment to others, tho -- in my party prep haste, I didn't check to see that the carrots were thoroughly soft. Mine weren't, and the puree was never completely smooth. The flavors were lovely tho! Nice!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

You are welcome, ksherk! I'm so glad you enjoyed them. The last time made these I had the opposite problem - distracted with everything else I was making, I left the carrots in the oven for a moment too long. Thankfully the harissa turned out fine.

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over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hi! Even been meaning to let you know forever, but I've been so crazy busy I've barely had a chance to glance at the site each day (distressing, I know), but these turned out absolutely delicious! I love all of the warm and tangy flavors. I'll be eating this all winter!

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over 2 years ago Burnt Offerings

Ditto! The heat of the chiles, the warm spices, and the sweetness of the carrots - so much flavor! And I loved the creamy creme fraiche to balance the heat and add creaminess. These were a BIG hit - will definitely make again.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Em & Linda: Aw, you've both made my day! So happy you both made these and enjoyed. Sharing and enjoying food with friends and family (whether by making yourself or through a recipe) is the best part about all of this. Cheers, Ladies - Here's to another great year of food!

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over 2 years ago Burnt Offerings

These are going on the list for tomorrow night's NYE celebration for my vegetarian guests.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Oh, wow, Linda, I'm flattered you'd include these. Hope your guests enjoy - let me know how it goes. Happy New Year!

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over 2 years ago Ms. T

This looks amazing! Congrats on being a finalist :) can't wait to make this.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, Ms. T! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you try it. Happy Holidays!

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over 2 years ago liamoran

This just earned a spot at Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Well done. Love it.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you! I'm thrilled that you'd even consider it for your holiday festivities. Happy Holidays!

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over 2 years ago cookinginvictoria

Yay, gingerroot -- so happy to see this recipe as a finalist!! This is going on our holiday menu for sure. I love the idea of roasted carrot harissa. And I too am a big fan of The English Patient. What a creative recipe -- congratulations!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you for your kind words, cookinginvictoria! I'm tickled to think you'd include this as a part of your holiday menu. If you do, I'd love to hear your thoughts about it. Happy Holidays!!

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over 2 years ago Shalini

Great idea, especially the crème fraiche to balance the spicy harissa! The crostini idea is an elegant way to present them.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Yes! Crème fraiche adds a bit of a sour/tangy note that contrasts with the sweetness of the carrot and heat from the chilies. Thank you, Shalini, I hope you try them.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you so much, everyone! I am thrilled and humbled. This is the best early Christmas present ever.

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Happy Holidays, GR!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Same to you, lapadia!!

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over 2 years ago Sonali aka the Foodie Physician

Congratulations, gingerroot! Your dish looks elegant and delicious!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, Sonali!

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over 2 years ago tota

this sounds phenomenal...can't wait to try it

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you so much, tota. I would love to hear your thoughts if you try it.

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Congratulations gingerroot..These look awesome!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, Panfusine!

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over 2 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks like a perfect appetizer! Many congrats to you. I'm making this one for sure!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, ChezSuzanne! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you give them a try.

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over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wooowooo! Way to go gingerroot!!!! These look awesome! I want to go to your Christmas parties! :)

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Yip! Thanks, fiveandspice! The feeling is mutual - I want to be a guest at one of yours.

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over 2 years ago lorigoldsby

Congrats gingerroot...The English Patient is one of my favorite fils as well! As soon as the holidays are over, I am going to queue up that movie and enjoy a plateful of these lovely bites!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, Lori! I hope you enjoy them.

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over 2 years ago TiggyBee

@ Midge: For whatever reason, I can't read the headnote about the English patient. All I can add is unlike Elaine Benes, I'd sit through that movie all over again!

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over 2 years ago lorigoldsby

love the seinfield reference

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over 2 years ago Midge

ha! me too.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

LOL!

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over 2 years ago Midge

Yay gingerroot! This sounds amazing! (The English Patient is one my faves too).

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, Midge!

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over 2 years ago TiggyBee

Yay!!!! So happy to see this recipe after being away from the site for a while. Looks Delish and can't wait to make it! Congrats!!!

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over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yippeee gingerroot! Congrats on a fabulous recipe!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, mrslarkin!! It has been a great day.

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over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

How exciting, congratulations on being a finalist, I had a feeling about these. Sounds absolutely delicious!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, sdebrango! I am over the moon. : )

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

These sound delicious!!!! Congratulations!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, A! I love the contrast of sweet and heat.

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over 2 years ago EmilyC

Hooray gingerroot! Many congrats on being a finalist! These look absolutely delicious!

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you for your kind words, EmilyC!

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over 2 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congratulations! Sounds delicious, and is gorgeous to look at as well.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, hardlikearmour! This was a lovely surprise to kick off the holiday season.

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over 2 years ago creamtea

gingerroot, congratulations on being a finalist! These sound so yummy.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, creamtea!

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over 2 years ago lorigoldsby

I love using the carrot leaves as garnish! I usually send the carrot tops out to the barn for the horse.

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over 2 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, Lori! You could also use another green, like parsley or cilantro...it looks pretty and adds a nice bright flavor.

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about 3 years ago lapadia

Yum, gingerroot! I don't know how I missed this, but glad I found it :)

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, lapadia!!

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about 3 years ago Fairmount_market

What an interesting take on harissa. I can't wait to try this.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, Fairmount_market! The sweet roasted carrots are a nice contrast to the heat of the chilies. I hope you enjoy these if you try them.

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Beautiful gingerroot, another amazing recipe.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you so much, sdebrango!

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over 3 years ago kmartinelli

This sounds amazing and the photo is gorgeous! I love the creme fraiche to balance the heat of the harissa.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you so much! Funny, I was just admiring your gorgeous risotto when I got your comment...I'd love to know what you think of this if you try it.

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This looks and sounds amazing!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much hardlikearmour! The crème fraiche provides a nice tang to contrast the natural sweetness of the carrot and the heat of the chiles.

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over 3 years ago testkitchenette

Impressive!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, testkitchenette! The roasted carrots make a fine pair to the subtle heat and spice of harissa.