Saturday, September 4, 2010

Carrot Salad with a Kick

SLO Farm had some delicious carrots on sale, and I had been wanting to try a carrot salad recipe from the blog Smitten Kitchen that has been receiving rave reviews. There were only two impediments to my plan. First, the carrots were so tasty that my 2 year old consumed almost half the bunch on the walk home from the market. Second, the recipe called for harissa, a North African chili paste, which proved to be impossible to find in Eugene (if anyone knows of a source, please pass it on).  Homemade harissa looked pretty involved, but I thought I could approximate the flavors with a mixture of different spices.  Unfortunately I didn't have any caraway seeds, which seemed to be a key ingredient, but I used a combination of cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle chili, and cayenne.

These were cooked briefly with garlic and sugar in olive oil, mixed with lemon juice, and poured over grated carrots. Then I added chopped mint and parsley and feta cheese.  The salad was quite spicy and had a wonderfully exotic taste.  I'd love to try it with harissa when I can get my hands on some, but in the meantime, this would be well worth making again, perhaps with some ground caraway seeds and a bit of tomato paste.

The salad was a delicious accompaniment to lamb burgers and pita bread, with lettuce, tomatoes, and a yogurt and cucumber relish (tomatoes and cucumbers from the Fairmount Market, of course).

Spicy Carrot Salad with Mint and Feta
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 bunch of carrots
handful of parsley
handful of mint
1 lemon
100 gram feta
1 garlic clove
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne chili powder
1/2 tsp sugar
salt to taste

1. Peel and grate carrots.

2. Mince garlic clove and heat with olive oil.  Add the spices and stir for a few minutes until fragrant.  Add juice of one lemon and salt to taste, and pour over the carrots.

3.  Mix in chopped mint and parsley.  Mix in chopped feta cheese (I used about half of a package).

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