Make it. Eat it. Love it.
Eating and cooking in Israel is always fun because everything here is seasonal. Unlike the states where you can pretty much buy any type of produce you want at anytime, Israel doesn’t import much of anything being that it is surrounded by nations that dislike them. Israeli farmers grow all their own crops and because of this we eat foods based on their seasonality. It’s an interesting thing to get used to after coming from New York where everything I want is at my fingertips.
Shum (Hebrew for garlic) has come into season and you can find beautiful wild garlic everywhere you turn. Piled high at the shuk (market) and woven together to make flowers and reefs. Being a HUGE garlic lover (the more garlic the better) I was super pumped to say the least at seeing this. I bought a bunch of it at the shuk here in Be’er Sheva and have been using it pretty regularly in place of the regular garlic I buy at the super. I wanted to make a dish that showcased this amazingly fresh and fragrant wild shum. Although this recipe does highlight the garlic, the carrots do not go unnoticed. Together with the crispy garlic and melting caramelized goat cheese, the carrots really shine. They become just as important as the garlic and aren’t just a vegetable thrown into soup or sauce to add a bit of sweetness. I made this as a side dish but ended up eating it all without even touching the chicken.
A note the crispy garlic: The crispy garlic is wonderfully nutty with a hint of sweetness when cooked correctly. If you overcook it just a little too long they will become burnt with a terrible tart taste. Watch carefully and remove garlic from the oil as soon as they become golden.
1 cup Olive Oil, Plus 3 Extra Tablespoons
5 Cloves Wild Fresh Garlic, Sliced Thin
7 Large Carrots, Peeled and Cut Into Thick Sticks
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme, Chopped
4 Ounces Goat Cheese, Sliced into 1/2 Rounds
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat 1 cup of oil in a large skillet and add thinly sliced garlic.
Cook until garlic is crisp and golden, less then a minute.
Remove garlic with a slotted flat skimmer and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
Strain oil and reserve for another use.
In a large mixing bowl combine carrot sticks, 2 Tablespoons oil, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large skillet.
Cook carrots in a single layer (cook in batches if needed) without turning for 7-10 minutes, or until starting to char.
Turn once and cook for 3 minutes.
Transfer to a plate and toss with half the crispy garlic.
Dip one side of the goat cheese rounds in brown sugar and place sugar side down in hot pan.
Cook until cheese is caramelized and warm.
Remove with a spatula and invert onto carrots.
Sprinkle remaining crispy garlic on top.