Thursday, December 8, 2011

Moroccan-ish Carrot Salad

For the past few weeks months my CSA box has been overloaded with carrots.  We're not even talking your standard large orange carrots that cartoon bunnies nibble on, oh no. I have never seen, let alone cooked with, such colorful carrots in my entire life. White ones, purple speckled ones, rainbow bunches and tie-dye ones. I'm totally lying about the last one, but that would be pretty cool except I'm not so sure I'd want to know about the science that brought my hippie carrots.

I had thought I exhausted all the uses for the common carrot. Roasted? Check. Pureed into a variety of soups? Triple check. Gnawed up raw? Yep. In a carrot only salad? No… or at least not until a few weeks ago. I saw this recipe somewhere on the Internet a few weeks back and was excited to finally have a new use for my overflowing collection of carrots. Even better was I didn't have to turn on the oven and cause the heat to rise in my apartment to unbearable levels. That's the curse of having a 400 square foot studio and an incredibly powerful convection oven - the temperature of the oven is pretty representative of the temperature in my apartment. I guess worse things have happened in the world.

While I was pretty happy with this Moroccan-ish carrot salad, there are a few things I would have changed.  First off, I don't know if this was my or the recipes error, but I thought the carrots were a tad too firm. The smaller cuts were perfectly tender but some of the larger ones were nearly impossible to penetrate with a fork. As you might imagine, some carrots were leaping off the plate in my attempt to trap then within my tines. Second, I thought carrots alone were a little bland and there wan an excessing of dressing. My remedy was throwing it upon a bed of lettuce and calling it dinner. All in all, good & healthy salad.

Moroccan-ish Carrot Salad
Adapted from Crumb

  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp each cumin and caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp spicy paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful mint leaves, chopped
  • Handful crumbled goat cheese
  • Romaine lettuce

  1. Blanch the carrots for 2 minutes (note: I would increase the blanching time) in a large pot of boiling water, then plunge into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking process. Once the carrots are completely cooled, drain and transfer to a pretty salad bowl.
  2. Using a dry skillet, toast the cumin and caraway over high heat for about 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Grind into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
  3. Combine the cumin and caraway mixture with the paprika and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Whisk until blended, then pour over the carrots and toss to coat. Set aside to the flavors meld, about 20-30 minutes.
  4. When ready, serve over romaine lettuce and sprinkle salad with handfuls of chopped mint and crumbled feta.

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