Sunday, August 2, 2009

Moroccan Carrot Salad

I know what you're thinking.

"Wow, Lisa, that looks like a big plate of carrots."

You may also be thinking, "This blog is really going downhill" -- Am I right?

Well, let me say two things: 1) I can't believe you'd give up on me so easily, and, 2) Stick around, you'll see that it's more than
just a plate of carrots.

I've actually been eating a lot of carrots recently, buying the big bag of them and peeling and cutting them into sticks to snack on, usually at work. So when I noticed the cute bunches of baby carrots at the farmers market I wanted to buy them, but I wanted to do right by them. I mean, they're adorable. Chopping them up only to transport them to a cubicle just seemed wrong.

In order to find the right recipe I started to do extensive, time consuming research: I poured a glass of wine, sat down with Chez Panisse Vegetables, looked through the recipe index, and said "a-ha!" when I saw the words Moroccan Carrot Salad. You could put the word "Moroccan" in front of just about anything and I'll swoon, I am that in love with the blend of spices that typically flavor these dishes.

It really took no time at all to put this together and the simple act of adding a crushed garlic clove to the water I boiled the carrots in made this entirely worth it, both for the way it made my kitchen smell (I came this close to scalding my entire face because I couldn't stop sticking my head over the pot and inhaling deeply) and for the subtle way it flavored the carrots.

According to the recipe, this dish is served as part of an antipasto platter at Chez Panisse. Leaving a little bit of the green stem at the top and cutting the carrots in half makes for a nice presentation. Presentation didn't matter much here, though; Jason was lucky that he was able to have the little he did, because I pretty much inhaled the rest. Oops.

Moroccan Carrot Salad
From Chez Panisse Vegetables, by Alice Waters

I've written the recipe below exactly as it appears in the cookbook; no exact measurements are given for the spices. This is most likely because no set quantity of carrots is given to start with, but also, this leaves you room to adjust the seasonings to your taste. I used three bunches of carrots and started off with between 1/4 tsp and 1/2 tsp of each spice, and found that I didn't need to add much more. Unfortunately, I had no parsley on hand when I made this, but it still turned out unbelievably delicious.

Peel baby carrots , leaving 1/4 inch of stem attached. Cut them in half lengthwise and boil until tender* in salted water with a crushed clove of garlic. Drain and cool to room temperature.
Toss them with a little ground cumin, paprika, and salt, and a pinch each of cinnamon and cayenne.
Toss together with lemon juice, olive oil, and chopped parsley.
Set aside to marinate at least one hour before serving.

These carrots cooked faster than I anticipated and were a little more tender than I would've liked. When boiling, you may want to check frequently if you don't want really tender, bendy carrots. I think crisp-tender would've been nicer.


  1. Oooh, I'm trying this, and posting it. Last night I made fried carrots, sweet potatoes and green beans. Carrots and beans were fresh from the garden. They were delicious - breadcrumbs for the coating were from homemade gluten free bread, so we could all enjoy. It's great to find new ways to cook these simple veggies. I'll have to harvest some carrots from the garden tonight and give this a try.

  2. Fried carrots, sweet potatoes and green beans with homemade breadcrumbs sounds delicious! I'm so envious that you're able to cook with fresh vegetables from your garden!
    You'll have to let me know if you try and like this recipe!

  3. Made it as a side dish with dinner. Dinner was also a product of LisasCocina. This tasted fantastic! I know my Ryan doesn't like anything TOO exotic, but he loved this. We finished it pretty fast. I also made the mistake of cooking the carrots too long, but it still tasted great. I also used adult carrots and just quartered them, it seemed to turn out great anyway. I like this!

  4. Impressive how you can make a plate of CARROTS seem, look, and taste like an exotic dish.