Saturday, January 7, 2012

Carrot Salad: Bright Flavors in Winter

The past few days have been unseasonably warm here in Nebraska. As in, it was 67 degrees on Thursday afternoon. In JANUARY. But I'm not complaining - I'll take any hint of spring I can to get through winter. Naturally, I went for a run with the pooch outside, to take advantage of the sunny skies!

When I came back, we were in the mood for a summer-inspired dinner. Summer cooking for me, though, is about celebrating the bounty of fresh produce that is available. How do we bring those bright, fresh flavors into January? This carrot salad certainly did the trick. And because carrots are pretty much available (cheaply) anytime, you can bring a little summer to January too. We ate this with a chicken and prosciutto involtini that Nick made on the grill - and for once, it was actually comfortable to be outside grilling!

Carrot salad 1

I suppose the lesson I learned from this meal was to really celebrate the small moments - a warm day can be a huge bright spot in an icy winter.

Carrot salad 2

Carrot Salad
I call for fresh basil here, but you could use any combination of basil, parsley, and mint that you like - just use whatever you can get fresh. In the summer time, I might increase the amount of herbs, but here it lends a nice background note to the bright lemon and carrot flavors.
Yield: about 4 cups, enough to serve 8 as a side dish

4 cups grated carrot (about 10 medium carrots)
Zest and juice of one whole lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground coriander
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or more, to taste)
2 tsp honey

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Stir, cover, and refrigerate for an hour or more.
2. Serve and enjoy! Refrigerate leftovers.

We saw a few sprouts starting in the windowsill garden this morning - hopefully I'll have a few baby plants to show you next week!

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