The Schoolhouse's Chef LaBant: Extra Credit on Yelp

Stephanie Webster

Chef LaBant of The Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton is doing his homework. The followng is an exchange from a Yelp reviewer, Andrew R. Fairfield, CT, who posted a comment on a dish he had particularly enjoyed at The Schoolhouse,  Braised baby carrots with a harissa sauce, dates, fried crispy chic peas and mâché. A few weeks later, LaBant responded with the recipe for this very dish. Here's the post and the recipe:

"Back tonight 2 weeks later and will add that I was privy to one of the single best first courses I have had in a restaurant in quite a long time.  Braised baby carrots with a harissa sauce, dates, fried crispy chic peas and mâché - there was an underlying hint of garam masala that united the dish and played off the spicy harissa. BRAVO chef! & might I add -not a spec of meat." --Andrew R.

"Here is my personal recipe if you are ever so inclined to make it" -- Chef LaBant

Braised Baby Carrots With a Harissa Sauce, Dates, Fried Crispy Chic Peas and Mâché.

Candied Carrots

1kilo baby carrots (peeled and trimmed)

200 g virgin olive oil

17 g fennel seed

17 g coriander

125 g sugar

7 g star anise

6 cloves

1 bay leaf

Peel of 1 lemon

16 g salt ( may need more)

Put everything except carrots in a pot and bring to a boil

Add carrots, bring back to boil

Once carrots are boiling reduce heat to medium

Simmer about five minutes until carrots are almost tender and remove from heat

Let carrots cool in liquid


Harrisa Red Pepper Dressing

250 g piquillo peppers (peeled & seeded)

110 g  peppadew peppers

1 handful mint

1 clove garlic

100 g lime juice (zest of 4 limes)

60 g extra virgin olive oil

150 g Greek yogurt

8 g sugar

7 g salt

15 g toasted ground spice mix 

{coriander, cumin, fennel seed, star anise, cinnamon}

2 shakes tabasco

8 cranks on a puegot pepper grinder

Put all ingredients in blender and puree, adjust seasoning (for smoother texture pass through a chinois on fine mesh seive)



1 spoonful harissa on plate 

Saute carrots in a pan with a little oil or butter, adjust salt if needed add a few pitted Medjool dates until hot. Place on top of Harissa.

Garnish with Mache or arugala dressed with a little oil and lime juice.