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Spice Up Salad with Moroccan Twist

By Diane Rossen Worthington

Milk Street: The New Rules by Christopher Kimball should attract amateur and serious home cooks alike. Why? The cookbook features gorgeous photography and offers interesting facts for each dish. For instance, polenta can be cooked in the oven instead of on top of the range and an addition of cornstarch to a lumpy cheese sauce can smooth out the sauce. There are also primers on ingredients like rice, chilies and spices for added information.

In the following recipe for a zesty carrot salad, you’ll find that if you finely shred the carrots the result with be mushy. Medium-sized carrot shreds are the preferred texture here. Kimball offers an interesting fact that shredding the carrots, rather than slicing them, increases the vegetable’s natural sweetness. Shredding also minimizes the fibrousness of the carrots.

Young carrots have a mild flavor and may be tender, but mature carrots are often sweeter with a decidedly dense texture. Select carrots that are well shaped and smooth. Look for a healthy reddish-orange color, and make sure to refrigerate the carrots so they remain sweet and crisp.

In this recipe, the carrots are dressed with a fruity, tangy-sweet dressing infused with spices. Dried apricots, toasted pistachios and fresh mint are perfect accents. Pomegranate molasses, often used in Middle Eastern cooking, is a dark, thick syrup with a sweet-sour flavor; look for it in the international aisle of the grocery store or in Middle Eastern markets.

This salad is a colorful and tasty addition to an array of salads on a buffet or the perfect side dish to a grilled entree. It also is a lovely first course salad along with some warm pita bread.

Moroccan Carrot Salad
Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachios, toasted and chopped
  • 3/4 cup pitted green olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh mint, plus more to serve

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, molasses, turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt. While whisking, slowly pour in the oil. Add the apricots and cumin, then let stand for 5 minutes to allow the apricots to soften.

2. Add the carrots and stir until evenly coated. Stir in the pistachios, olives and mint. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with additional mint.

Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.

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