Electric orange rounds of slightly sweet carrot marry perfectly with cumin, lemon juice, and garlic. Visually appetizing on a buffet of Sephardic mezze, great with summer barbecues, Moroccan carrot salad is versatile and easy to prepare.
Many times, the carrots in versions I have tasted are too soft and beginning to disintegrate. One day I was watching Food TV and Chef Bobby Flay did a version of this classic salad to go with one of his barbecue entrees. He said that you should only cook the carrots for 8 minutes in boiling water, in order to leave them ‘just cooked’ not to soft. That was my Ah Ha moment! Thank you Bobby Flay. Thank you to my Israeli friend Nina for the basic recipe.
8 large carrots, peeled
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon of jalapeño pepper, finely minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons , finely chopped fresh cilantro
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place the whole carrots in the boiling water and cook until just cooked through (not too soft), about 8 minutes. Test my pushing a thin knife through the carrot. It should go through with just a little bit of resistance. Drain the carrots immediately and set them aside to cool.
When the carrots are cool, slice them in one quarter inch thick circles. Put the carrots in a salad bowl. Place all the salad dressing ingredients in a separate pitcher or measure. When you are choosing garlic make sure to choose cloves that are firm and almost crisp with absolutely no green shoots coming out. If there are green shoots coming out of the garlic, it does not have a good flavor.
Stir all of the dressing ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss. The carrot salad is best of made a few hours ahead of time and allowed to sit in the refrigerator. Leftovers keep for a few days.