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Friday, May 11, 2012

Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad

Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad

Note:  for many more photos of Moroccan Salads, see my posts here and here Moroccan Salads, Parts I and II.

Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad
by Victoria Challancin

Salads in Morocco are always a marvel.  Cooked, raw, elaborate, simple, Moroccan salads are something to behold (click on the links above for lots of photos of a wide variety of examples of salads from Morocco).  Often fresh vegetables are simply tossed with a vinaigrette as with the recipe I am featuring in this post.  Other times the vegetables are cooked with spices and olive oil to make a dish that more resembles a dip or side dish than what we in the West typically think of as a salad.  But whatever form they take, they play a huge roll in the cuisine of Morocco.  

Traditionally, small dishes of salad, much like in a Middle Eastern mezze, are served at the beginning of a meal as a starter course.  Although a selection of small plates is one of the most common ways to serve them, but they also sometimes arrive at the table on a large platter as an elaborately arranged salade composée or as individual composed portions.  Scroll down for some photos of Moroccan salads from recent trips.

Note:  If you would like more information about the trips I lead yearly to Morocco, just email me.

Cook's Notes:  This is one of those flexible recipes that you just make to taste.  I prefer it with olive oil, but vegetable oil is an option.  I like it lemony, garlicky, and full of cumin (surprise, surprise), but one variation is to use only 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon).  I also made fresh harissa for a Moroccan class I taught recently, so I had it on hand--if you don't have harissa, simply substitute a piquant chile sauce of choice.  For this salad, I prefer cilantro for its bright flavor over parsley, but again, it is up to you.  For the chile, I chose chopped serrano chiles; of course, the chile is optional, but not really.  Just play with the tastes until you are happy with them; as for me, this combination is perfect!

Recipe:  Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad
(Recipe from Olive Trees and Honey by Gil Marks)
Makes 5 to 6 servings

1 pound carrots, coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Pinch of salt
About 1/2 teaspoon harissa or chile sauce of choice
1 tablespoon minced green chiles or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients.  Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days to allow the flavors to meld and permeate the carrots.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Moroccan Cooked Carrot Salad (Shlata Chizo Metboucha):  instead of grating the carrots, cut them on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  Cook in gently boiling water until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.  Toss with the dressing as above.

Moroccan Carrot-Orange Salad (Shlata Chizo):  Omit the cumin and add 1 1/2 teaspoons orange blossom water or 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, 1/4 cup chopped fresh spearmint, and, if desired, 1 tablespoon sugar or honey.

Turkish Carrot Salad with Yogurt (Havuc Salatasi):  Substitute 1 cup plain yogurt for the lemon juice.

 An appetizer selection of salads from my favorite women's co-op in Marrakech

Another salad from a Marrakech restaurant near the Jemaa el Fna 

 Slightly fuzzy, but utterly delicious, from a favorite riad in Fes--with wonderful, wonderful Moroccan wine(s)

Food always tastes best from the home of friends in Erfoud

 An individual composed salad from a riad in Essouira

A light dinner of soup and salads from my favorite riad  in Fes, again

This buffet spread comes from a hotel in the Dades Gorge

A modern composed seafood salad from a restaurant in Essaouira

 Did I mention salads from my favorite riad in Fes--this time for breakfast?

And even in our camp in the Sahara, an orange salad for dessert

Parting Shot:  Morocco
Moroccan "silk" scarves, made from cactus fiber

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Recipes, like life, are meant to be shared, but please ask permission before using my photos or text.  Thanks!


Marina@Picnic at Marina said...

Oh, what a beautiful colors! I love your version of this salad, will make it this weekend. Thanks for the idea!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Each and every salad looks delicious. I love the bowl with the carrot salad. The color contrast is great. My husband just mentioned the other day that we hadn't had carrot salad in a long time. Now you are posting your recipe...I guess I need to get out my grater.

FOODalogue said...

I never think about making a carrot salad but this recipe really tantalizes -- as does your introduction and photos of salads in Morocco.

P.S. Add me to trip list for info when it is available.

Victoria at Flavors of the Sun said...

Will do, Joan. I can never say enough fabulous things about Morocco--its people, its culture, and yes, its food. I"ll keep you posted.

nenek said...

brings back wonderful memories of 1 year ago!!! Love Sue xx

Eha said...

I think I have scrolled up and down these beautiful photos half a dozen times. Winter approaching in Australia does not stop me from at least one salad daily! Have always loved carrot salads but, until now, have not tried adding harissa or paprika. Yours looks SO appetizing even tho' I have just finished lunch :) !

Hotly Spiced said...

That's a very tasty salad Victoria and I love the salad bowl. The colour of the salad in that blue bowl is so appealing. Love your images of Morocco too. It seems like an interesting and colourful place.

Dawn @ Words Of Deliciousness said...

The carrot salad looks wonderful. It would make a great side dish.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

This is a great salad especially since I have everything in my cupboard and fridge all the time! :)