Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Overwintered Carrot Salad

When you've got carrots, make carrot salad.

We pulled about five pounds of carrots from the garden the other day, just getting ready for spring planting. Some of those carrots were roasted with parsnips. I turned some more into one of my favorite salads with dried fruits, nuts and a curry dressing.

This salad is so adaptable. I usually throw in some raisins and walnuts, but what I found in the pantry were dried cranberries and sunflower seeds. You could use almost anything.

For the dressing I like to mix mayonnaise with a mild vinegar such as rice vinegar. I was out of that, too. So I substituted champagne vinegar. Instead of sweetening it with sugar, I used mirin, the traditional Japanese sweet condiment.

Grate five medium-sized carrots to make about 3 cups (I use the large holes on my box grater). Add about 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds.

In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon mirin (or substitute your favorite sweetener to taste), 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Whisk until smooth and adjust seasonings.

Stir just enough dressing into the carrot mix to coat. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. This salad will brighten up a casual dinner or a lunch next to a sandwich. I confess: I can't help snacking on it till it's gone.

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