Because let's face it, spring and early summer have a tendency to smack you with cool, wet weather when you're least expecting it — and when you are most desiring sun and heat. Which is why the delicate flavours of dill and butter sometimes just don't fit.
For those evenings, I came up with a zippy sauce that's something of a cross between Italian pesto and Argentinian chimichurri, but with a hefty dose of Asian peanut sauce just to make it interesting.
The sauce can be prepped up to a day in advance, but don't add the peanuts until just before serving. The port-soaked raisins also can be done in advance. Just drain and refrigerate as needed (but they will taste best if you let them come to room temperature before serving).
ROASTED CARROTS WITH PORT RAISINS AND SPICY PEANUT-HERB SAUCE
This sauce also is delicious spooned over roasted or grilled pork or cauliflower.
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1/3 cup port wine
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 pound medium carrots
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped unsalted (or lightly salted) roasted peanuts
Ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the port to a bare simmer. Add the raisins, stir to submerge, then set aside to soak.
Cut each carrot into quarters lengthwise. Pile the carrots onto the prepared baking sheet, then drizzle them with a bit of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat evenly, then arrange in an even layer. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are just golden and tender.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a blender or food processor combine the basil, parsley, 1/3 cup olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes and sugar. Pulse until the greens and garlic are well chopped, but not pureed. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the peanuts.
When the carrots are done, transfer to a serving dish. Spoon the sauce over them. Drain and discard any excess liquid from the raisins, then sprinkle those over the carrots. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition information per serving: 410 calories; 250 calories from fat (61 per cent of total calories); 28 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 22 g sugar; 6 g protein; 360 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org