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"Top Chef" winner and "Top Chef: Amateurs" guest judge Joe Flamm combines flavors from his Italian and his wife's Croatian backgrounds to create delicious recipes at his Chicago restaurant, Rose Mary. For our Italy episode, he shares two hearty, quick and easy grilled veggie dishes: these tasty carrots and halved baby zucchini and summer squash with whipped cheese and chile-herb vinaigrette.
Pro Tip from Joe: Carrots take a while to cook, so I slow-roast them before I grill them.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Preheat a grill (use a charcoal grill, if possible, for a smokey flavor) to medium heat.
On a small baking pan, toss the carrots with ¼ cup of the olive oil and some salt, then bake for 15 minutes, or until just tender.
Meanwhile, make the date puree. In a blender, puree the dates, vinegar and hot water until smooth, then set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, pistachios, parsley and tarragon and season with salt. Set the pesto aside.
Cut the carrots crosswise into large pieces. Grill in a perforated grill pan over direct heat until dark grill marks appear and, if using a charcoal grill, they have a nice, smokey flavor.
Toss carrots with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and a few tablespoons of the date puree.
Spread the whipped goat cheese on a plate and arrange the carrots on top. Spoon the pesto over the carrots.