As I understand it, according to one of my favourite food bloggers David Lebovitz, this recipe is French-style carrot salad. Well, apologies to David. My husband tasted it and beamed, “This tastes just like the carrot salad that my mother makes!” … and my husband is Danish.
His mother was scuffing her knuckles on that wicked looking, corroded grater of hers, shredding carrots and making this salad long before David was a whispered amorous thought between either his mother or father. I could therefore, with the entire Danish population in agreement, call this Danish Carrot Salad but that’s apt to offend the entire French population who, with an unsympathetic flick of their hand, claim credit for anything and everything edible. So I’m going to call this Carrot Salad without Raisins, Pineapple or Mayo … or maybe Carrot Salad Total Unlike My Mother’s. Yes, the latter wins hands down. Carrots, raisins, pineapple and half a jar of mayo — which is how my mother used to make it. Left at room temperature for hour on hour, the entire creation collapsed into an oil slick of carrots with dried, crunchy raisins and miniscule threads of pineapple fibre. As a toddler, I always lined the crunchy, wrinkled raisins around the edge of my plate, convinced that they were dead flies with their wings plucked off. For some unfathomable reason, my mother encouraged this assumption, thinking it was cute.
A few notes:
1. Grate the carrots coarsely; if they’re too fine, the salad will lack texture and definition. It will look like chewed carrot that someone spat out.
2. Microwave the lemon for 10 seconds on high, then give it a forceful roll back and forth under the palm of your hand to coax oodles more juice from it.
3. Adjust the sugar, oil, and salt according to taste. If you want it more acidic, add 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar bit by bit until you’re happy with the flavour. Every lemon is different – some sweeter, some more tart, so fiddle about until you have it right. This is cooking, not science.
4. I used rich, yellow first-pressed rapeseed oil to keep the undertones compatible with the bright orange carrots. Extra virgin olive oil has a green tint, which I don’t think is attractive with the orange tones. David’s recipe uses olive oil. Too strong; too green.
5. Go easy on the sugar; carrots are naturally sweet.
This carrot salad is fresh and eye-opening, and reminds me of why rabbits love carrots. It’s surprisingly delicious. When I tasted it straight out of the bowl, please pardon my fingers (they were clean!), I actually inhaled a short gasp and exhaled a quick “Oh!”. It’s that good.
I have altered the quantities slightly to serve 2 people generously, and as my husband can’t do sugar, I used liquid sweetener.
Thanks to David Lebovitz for his inspired brilliance.
Carrot Salad Totally Unlike My Mother’s
2 large carrots, peeled (or 3 medium size) and grated coarsely
1 lemon, juice and remove pips (approx 4 dessert spoons full or 40ml)
2 tablespoon rapeseed oil or vegetable oil (30ml)
(or 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil and 1 tablespoon light/mild olive oil (15ml each)
1 teaspoon caster sugar (or 1 teaspoon light agave syrup for fewer calories)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of flaked sea salt
pinch of course ground pepper (optional)
First make the dressing by thoroughly mixing together (with a fork or mini-whisk) the lemon juice, salt, sugar/agave, and Dijon mustard. While whisking, slowly add the oils to emulsify the dressing completely. Set aside.
*Grate the peeled carrots into a large bowl, and add 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing to the grated carrots. Stir and toss thoroughly. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve, but don’t prepare too far in advance. Perhaps 30-minutes before serving at most. By adding a small amount of dressing to grated carrot, you’ll have less discolouration and oxidation.
Just before serving, add the rest of the dressing one tablespoon at a time. The carrots mustn’t be drowning in dressing, just lightly coated. Toss well. Taste and adjust flavours if required. Sprinkle with a pinch of pepper if using. Serves 2 but easily doubled.
Voilà og Værsgo!
*A food processor works well for this with a coarse grater attachment fitted.
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