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Entries in carrot salad (1)


Salade de Carottes Rapees

We had two other couples over for dinner on Wednesday evening. Both couples are longtime friends, one couple neighbors and the others old friends from husband's time in Washington D.C.. I had vowed a simple summer dinner and I kept my promise. Costco provided two rotisserie chickens. All I had to do was provide a starter, sides and dessert. Since I had sworn not to knock myself out, I pulled a big container of Cream of Tortilla Soup from the freezer. It freezes wonderfully and is, if anything, even better after freezing. OK, what else? What else indeed. How about the no-fail sure to please everyoneTarte a la Oignon.  I had bought a new tart pan, a rectangular one and wanted to try it out.  I had a gorgeous head of leaf lettuce and also some really expensive, but wonderful Jersey tomatoes, a true luxury here in south Florida.  I decided to get some fresh mozzarella, snip some fresh basil from my little herb garden and offer up a summer salad of all those ingredients.  I felt like I wanted something else, some true harbinger of summer.  I wanted color.  I personally find color and texture of food so important.  I began thinking of all the wonderful summer meals I've had in France and I experienced an epiphany...Salade de Carottes Rapees!!  This is a national dish of France, right up there with crepes and coq au vin.  It has everything I was desiring, color, texture, summer freshness and simplicity.  Salade de Carottes Rapees is shredded, dressed down carrots and is served absolutely everywhere in France.  It is national, not regional and versions can even be found in clear plastic containers in every charcuterie and hyper marche.  Some versions contain rasins.  I avoid them.  Too much of a reminder of the years I spent keeping rabbits.  There was no recipe for Shredded Carrot Salad in my little French cookbook/bible so I closed my eyes tightly and whispered, doing my best Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ imitation"There's no place like France...There's no place like France" and voila'! I became inspired.  I begged husband to peel seven organic carrots.  Then, I kissed the Cuisinart processor gently and lovingly and shoved those carrots against the shredding disk...abracacadabra...thirty seconds later the foundation for Salade de Carottes Rapees.  The rest wasn't nearly so mechanical and scientific.  It was all taste and adjust and use what I found on hand.  Here's what I did to the best of my recollection...

Salade de Carottes Rapees

7 fresh carrots, organic preferred, peeled and shredded

3 large spoonfuls of high quality olive oil (I used my salad set spoon so the bowl of it is probably more than a tablespoon.  In the salads, it's proportion of oil to acid that's important, not the amounts)

1 and a little bit more salad spoonful of fresh lemon juice

1/2 handful fresh mint

1/2 handful flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup sliced almonds


freshly ground pepper

That's it, really.  Dress, taste, adjust, repeat until you're happy with it.  So simple.  So incredibly good.  It add such color to a summer meal.

A note about fresh spices....

 Fresh spices are so easy to have on hand.  I just plant all of mine in a big planter I keep on the side patio.  It is a veritable cornucopia of the one pot I have sage, tarragon, mint, parsley, thyme, basil and for good measure, a single dwarf yellow pepper plant stuck in the middle.  All the spices love each other and jumple together happily.  I  love grabbing handfuls as needed when I'm cooking.