Directly from Martha Stewart - remember when she had that Whole Living magazine? I have made this often and sometimes as part of a Moroccan themed dinner. As it appears in the original, it is intended as a cold salad, but most of the time I serve it as a warm side-dish. It has helpful make-ahead elements.
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, roasted
1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1.5-2" pieces (halve pieces again if thick - aim is to get all pieces about the same size)
1/4 cup raisins or currants
3 TB lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped roughly
In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook carrots until crisp-tender, 5-7 minutes, adding raisins during last minute of cooking. Drain in a colander; *rinse under cold water.
In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne. Whisking constantly, slowly add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper once dressing is combined with carrots.
Add carrots, pistachios, and cilantro to dressing; toss to combine.
Notes and Tips...
- Pistachios - I typically have pistachios on hand. I buy them roasted / unsalted and shell them when I need a little Zen moment, or while watching TV. Any time a recipe calls for nuts, they always taste better if they get a little flavour boost in the oven. This recipe suggests they be spread on a rimmed baking sheet and toasted in an oven preheated to 350 F, until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes; let cool; coarsely chop. This step can be done a day ahead.
- Carrots - fresh carrots will taste best
- Raisins - tough to see in the photo above - that's because I used golden raisins. This dish looks even nicer with darker raisins or even currants. Don't forget to add them to the last minute or so of the carrot cooking stage.
- Lemon - this recipe does not suffer from adding a bit of lemon zest as well - nice as a serving garnish
- Garlic - I have found that only the freshest garlic is easily mashed into a paste; mincing with a garlic press is fine.
- Carrot Cooking Step - I never follow the recipe step that refers to rinsing the carrots under cold water until cool - but that makes sense if one is using this as a cold salad. Since I use it as a warm side, I do a quick rinse of the carrots to remove any cooking "gunk" and then mix with the dressing. Warm vegetables absorb dressing, yielding more flavour.
- Dressing - can be made ahead
- Cilantro - most of the time, the cilantro I buy is "sandy" - I rinse it and spin dry it in my salad spinner before chopping.
- This can be "almost totally cooked" ahead - complete all steps except the cilantro and pistachios, and refrigerate for up to 2 days ahead. Gently warm if desired. Add cilantro and pistachios. Check seasoning.
- The raw carrots can be peeled and cut and stored in the fridge for a day before the cooking day.
- Pistachios can be roasted ahead
- Dressing can be mixed the day before cooking day.
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