I’ve been making this recipe for months. I don’t even use a recipe anymore, as it’s been embroidered onto my heart, soul and tastebuds. I make a giant one-bowl dish of it just for me, as I think it makes a fine solo lunch. It’s sweet, tangy and crunchy, not to mention full of vitamin A and other good-for-you nutrients. I talk it up to friends and I’m actually surprised that I haven’t shared it here until now. It’s really, really good.
I had taken home Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table from the library and it’s a gorgeous cookbook. I didn’t want to return it and I probably racked up some serious library fees just holding onto the darn thing. It’s going onto my Christmas wish list for sure. It was the only recipe I made from the book, but it’s one I’ve made every month since. Sometimes, several times a week even. You see, it’s weird my relationship with this salad. I crave it and think about it when I’m not eating it. It’s intoxicating and I’m clearly under its spell.
Grating the carrots seems like a daunting task but really it’s not that bad. Especially when you know what’s waiting for you on the other side. Play your favourite song very loudly. Listen to the Spilled Milk podcast (which I have to tell you is my most favourite thing to listen to when I cook) and grate, grate, grate those carrots into a pile of lovely orange shards. Toast some sliced or chopped almonds or walnuts in the meantime and have your currants at the ready (no silly raisin or dried cranberry substitutions, please). The dressing, a mixture of cider vinegar, oil, dijon mustard and honey, couldn’t be easier. Pour, mix, toss and eat up. You’ll find yourself putting this salad on repeat often and then thinking about it even more. I promise.
Now, start grating. I mean it.
dorie’s cafe-style grated carrot salad
The parsley, chives and green onion are ingredients I consider optional. They are lovely additions, but not essential. In the original recipe, Dorie also considers the currants and nuts optional. While I’m sure Dorie is wise and all knowing, listen to me and DO NOT skip these. They are, in my opinion, what elevates this salad into amazing territory. Also, currants trump raisins so don’t even think about it. I would also like to add now that it’s cold season, a clove or two of minced garlic to pump up the benefits, but it’s not needed.
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table)
1 pound carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 T Dijon mustard
1 T honey (agave syrup makes a fine vegan substitute)
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/2 c canola, grapeseed or other flavorless oil
toasted almonds or walnuts, roughly chopped
chopped parsley, optional
minced chives or green onion tops, optional
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the carrots. All the carrots. In a small jar, mix the dijon, honey, cider vinegar and oil together. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and shake until well combined. Pour dressing over salad. Toss with handfuls of currants and nuts and the chives or parsley if using. Season again if needed and serve. Serves 4.