Cranberry, Almond and Roasted Carrot Salad

~from Savoring Time in the Kitchen

Serves 6

2 pounds thin organic carrots with fresh green tops
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Grade A maple syrup

2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (1-2 oranges)

3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey

2 5-ounce boxes of baby arugula
6 ounces semi-hard goat cheese, such as tipsy Goat, Manchego (or feta)
2/3 cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds (can be found at Costco)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

While is preheating, combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a soft boil, then set aside to cool. Cranberries and juice can be placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated until dinner.

Cheese can be diced and placed in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until ready to toss the salad.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic, salt and honey. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Trim and scrub the carrots (peel if they are bagged carrots). Cut the carrots in large diagonal slices as they shrink while roasting. Try to make all the slices as even as possible. Transfer to a large bowl with ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss well and transfer to 2 baking sheet pans allowing plenty of room for roasting. Roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing once, until the carrots are tender.

Transfer all the carrots to one of the sheet pans, add the maple syrup. Toss and then roast for about 10 minutes or so, until caramelized turning once. Please watch carefully as the maple syrup can burn if left in the oven too long. Set aside for about 5-10 minutes to cool slightly. At this point you may allow them to cool completely and cover with a sheet of aluminum foil until you are close to serving the salad. Then, add the maple syrup and roast in a pre-heated 425 degree oven until caramelized.

Place the arugula in a large bowl and add the carrots, cranberries (along with the orange juice), goat cheese, almonds, and the vinaigrette. Toss with large spoons, sprinkle lightly with salt, and serve.

Adapted from Ina Garten's, Cooking for Jeffrey.
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