June 9, 2010

Shredded Carrot Salad

I'm a fan of carrots.  I like 'em raw, cooked, juiced, whatever, but mainly I just munch on them raw.  I don't even bother dipping them in anything because I'm simple like that (or maybe lazy).  But once in a while it's good to switch things up. 

I read about this salad on David Lebovitz's site a while back and meant to try it.  (Note: because David lives in Paris I couldn't resist using my Cafe Paris bowl). Months later, no years, now that I look at the recipe, I finally mustered up the energy to shred carrots and chop parsley and actually make a dressing, which, honestly?  Doesn't this seem decadent for the humble carrot?  For some reason I have no trouble stretching myself to make a simple dressing for other salads, but for carrots it was another story.  It's like when a close family member or familiar friend comes to dinner--you don't fuss over the meal, but if it's a stranger coming you go all out.   

Well, the results were worth it.  It was nice to eat raw carrots with a fork for a change. Besides being notably easier to chew, the dressing and parsley brought brightness and flavor.  I decided the salad wasn't complete, however.  It needed a bit of crunch and texture, so I added roasted and salted sunflower seeds to the salad.  That did it!  I may even have added raisins for sweetness, but I knew the others that were going to eat the salad wouldn't appreciate that. 

After raving about this salad, my best friend requested it for her Memorial Day barbeque, so I doubled the recipe and pulled out the food processor to do all the shredding for me, which I don't like to use because mine is so loud that I actually need to wear earphones while operating it.  Does anyone else have this problem with their processor? 

Carrot salad is not something everyone will love.  Some people will find it strange, which I don't really get.  It's carrots, shredded in a bowl.  But I loved it.  It reminds me of a carrot salad I once had with pineapple tidbits and raisins, but with more sophistication--and prettier.  At the barbeque, because some were not sure what to do with it, the carrot salad became an alternative to cole slaw and was piled on beef brisket sandwiches.  It was tasty that way too.  Who's kidding who?  My carrot salad had been upstaged by, ahem, hot cheesy artichoke dip and guacamole.  No contest, right?  My feelings were not hurt that it was only half eaten. More for me!

Shredded Carrot Salad

7 large carrots
half bunch of flat leaf parsley
juice of 2 small or one large lemon
2 tbl olive oil
1-2 tsp sugar or liquid sweetener of choice (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, etc.)
salt and pepper, to taste
sunflower seeds, roasted and salted (optional)

Peel and finely shred carrots.  I only have one size to my shredder, so you see a short and fat shred to my carrots, but a true carrot salad should be thin and longer, so use a fine shred if you can.  Chop the parsley fine and add to the carrots. 

Make a dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the remaining ingredients.  Toss with carrots and give it a taste.  It may need a little more salt, pepper, juice or oil according to your taste.  Adjust seasonings.  David Lebovitz suggests that the salad should be moist and glistening, not swimming in dressing. 

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