Sumac Carrots with Feta Mousse and Crispy Panko

This elegant yet easy side dish is by friends and business partners Coby Ming and Damaris Phillips, two of our 2020 Cooks of the Year. Not only are they both talented cooks, they are community builders as well. Wanting to create more fun and connection in Louisville, Kentucky, the pair started Blue Grass Supper Club, ticketed events with themes and menus to match (think: 1950s cocktail hour with Swedish meatballs and deviled eggs or casual Sunday supper with fried chicken and bourbon coleslaw). Post-COVID-19, Bluegrass Supper Club has evolved from in-person gatherings to to-go picnic baskets that people can enjoy at home or in outdoor spaces, like parks. This recipe, for roasted carrots flavored with tangy sumac served over a creamy feta cheese mousse, is an example of how they transform seasonal ingredients into something special. "When you prepare simple ingredients in a thoughtful way, you will be rewarded with delicious taste," says Phillips.

Coby Ming and Damaris Phillips' Sumac Carrots with Feta Mousse and Crispy Panko
Photo: Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry
Active Time:
30 mins
Chill Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 3 medium carrots (6 to 8 oz. total), peeled

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • ½ - 1 teaspoon ground sumac

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 ½ cups), at room temperature

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • Torn fresh mint leaves


  1. Toast panko in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, stirring constantly, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

  2. Cut carrots into thirds, and then cut each third in half lengthwise (or into fourths, depending on width of carrots).

  3. Heat oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium until hot. Cook carrots, flat side down, in hot oil, without turning, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. (The cut sides will be very dark.)

  4. Remove skillet from heat; stir in ¼ cup water, honey, and sumac. Return to heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until most of the water has cooked off and carrots are coated, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and transfer to an airtight container. Chill carrots about 30 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, pulse feta and cream cheese in a food processor until blended, about 5 pulses. Add whipping cream, lemon juice, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Process mixture until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

  6. Spread Feta Mousse onto bottom of serving plate, and top with carrots. Sprinkle carrots with toasted panko and mint before serving.

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