Spring is springing and soon we’ll be segueing from winter oven cooking to summer grilling. This carrot salad is another one of our more popular market sides and while it’s fantastic in summer when good carrots abound at your favorite farmers market, it makes a great side for spring dishes. For example, this will pair nicely as a light side dish for your Easter lamb (if that’s your thing).
If you’ve been to Paris or France you’ll recognize this classic bistro dish: Salade des Carottes Râpées. It’s one of those “everyone has their own recipe” dishes, so I’ll just add another to the stack. Like many simple dishes the trick to a good carrot salad (or any for that matter) is not overdoing the vinaigrette. You really want the carrots and parsley to be the up-front taste in each bite, with the rest of it kind of in the background. Think of the vinaigrette as Charlie Watts, not flashy but quietly there on his little drum kit beating out a steady rhythm for Mick and Keith. (That said, I put truffle honey in the vinaigrette for this salad so….)
Make sure you get good carrots though. If you’ve got a farmers market to go to, do so, ’cause right now the ones in the grocery store are quite flavorless. Not much sweetness to them. Luckily for us I found some purple carrots at our local farmers market to make the batch in the above photo. Much tastier than the grocery store.
This is such a simple preparation and it tastes sooo good, when you bring this to a cookout everyone will be all ‘wow’ and you’ll feel a slight tinge of guilt about just grating up some carrots and tossing with dressing. Takes very little time to prepare as well.
Take a pound of carrots, clean and peel them. Now grate the cleaned and peeled carrots on the large holes of a box grater, or use the shredding attachment on your food processor. You’re going to want to grate/shred the carrots by their length, not across, so you get nice ribbons of carrot. Think julienne but very thin. If using your food processor/Cuisnart you are going to want to cut the carrots to a length where they’ll fit sideways into the feeder tube in order to get that long ribbon.
Ok, got your pile of shredded carrot? Good. Took about 5 minutes didn’t it? Trust me, it’s going to take longer to clean up than make this salad. Now clean and chop up some parsley. One small bundle from the grocery store should do it. Add to the shredded carrots.
Now the vinaigrette. I’d be making 8-10lbs of this salad for the market every week so would basically free-hand it, add lemon juice mustard and truffle honey then whisk in olive oil until it tastes right. For a small batch like 1lb of carrots I’d start with the juice of half a lemon, half a spoonful of mustard & honey, then slowly whisk in some good olive oil until the bitter lemon dissipates enough but where you can still taste the citrusy lemon, mustard and honey (citrus infused olive oil can also work). Taste and adjust.
Pour some, but not all, into the carrots and parsley and mix thoroughly. Taste. Needs some salt right? Ok throw a pinch or two in and mix some more. How about now? The goal here is to have a lightly dressed pile of carrots, not drowning them in the vinaigrette. You do not want an inch deep pool of vinaigrette in the bottom of the bowl.
Got it seasoned to where you want it? Ok, now let it chill in the fridge. Give a good stir when ready to serve. Enjoy this all spring and summer long!