Right,focus. We were talking winter. It seems almost a necessity to fill our bellies with warm, soulful, and often heavier meals, in order to buoy ourselves through the dark days of the season. At about this time of year, though, I find myself yearning for the lighter, crisper fare of spring and summer. Those foods with a burst of vibrant color, and a refreshing snap to them simply call to me. Things just taste more alive that way, don't they?
Cue Nigel Slater's Tender. (Oh, baby, I adore this book.) It's filled with exactly every single thing you'd love to eat throughout the year, a perfect harmony of comfort and bright, fresh ingredients. So, I was combing through recipes, trying to find something simple and fresh to accompany a creamy gratin for dinner. And I hit the jackpot in a big way. (At least I don't exaggerate, right?) Not exactly a recipe, more a suggestion, for a carrot salad. It's very similar to a French grated carrot salad, but with a wee twist.
Toasted cumin seeds. Yum. Crunchy carrots are cloaked in a very simple, lively vinaigrette of equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, some fresh parsley, flaky sea salt, and smoky cumin. This is wake-you-from-your-winter-slumber food. And the best thing? You can make it in a snap.
I'm going to follow Mr. Slater's lead on this one, with not giving exact amounts, for the recipe. I could say that this gives you a bit more laissez faire to work with what you have on hand, and how many mouths you need to feed. To be honest though, I'm also doing this because I didn't record exact amounts when I made it. What can I say? It's not always a well-oiled machine around these parts. And sometimes, just sometimes, writing down recipes and snapping photos cannot take precedence over hungry bellies. So, follow your instincts, it's impossible to mess this up, I promise.
Carrot Salad with Toasted Cumin Seeds - adapted from Tender
carrots, peeled and either julienned, or grated - allow about 2 to 3 carrots per serving
equal parts freshly squeezed lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil
flake sea salt, to taste
cumin seeds, about 1 tsp per 4 servings, lightly toasted over medium-high heat for a minute or two
Throw everything into a suitably sized bowl, and toss to combine.
Now that's a snappy salad. Enjoy!