When I was looking for a recipe to try from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, the obvious choice would have been to attempt a flatbread. However, for some reason I settled on this selection from the "flavors" portion of the book instead. I think it was the mint--I'm obsessed with herbs. I planned to make this salad as part of a four-course birthday meal for The Gastronomer. When she heard the menu, she asked, "Are you sure you didn't choose that recipe for yourself...?" Indeed, I'm the one who is fond of carrots and the aforementioned mint, so perhaps she had a point. Fortunately, when we sat down to sample the salad, we both LOVED it. I'll definitely be making this one again in short order.
The recipe calls for freshly ground cumin--I'm sure that would make the flavor even bolder, but I used the ground stuff and it still turned out great. I did take advantage of the opportunity to bust out our rarely-used mortar and pestle to muddle the herbs.
Recipe from Flatbreads and Flavors: A Baker's Atlas.
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed [or ~3/4 teaspoon ground cumin]
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- pinch of sugar
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt [I used Trader Joe's nonfat Greek yogurt]
- 2 pounds carrots, thinly sliced and steamed until just tender
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Leaf lettuce for serving
You will need a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, a bowl or glass jar with a lid, and a medium-sized bowl.
In a mortar, grind the cumin seed to a coarse powder. Add the cilantro, mint, and salt, and pound and blend well. Transfer to a bowl or glass jar. Add the oil, vinegar, and sugar and mix well. Alternatively, using a spice grinder, grind the cumin seed. Transfer to a bowl or glass jar and stir in the herbs and salt, pressing the herbs with the back of a spoon to crush them. Add the oil, vinegar, and sugar and mix well. Let stand in a cool place, well sealed for up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to blend.
To prepare the salad, stir the yogurt into the dressing. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl, and add the carrots and pepper to taste. Toss to coat the carrots well. The salad can be served immediately or refrigerated for up to two hours; bring to room temperature before serving. To serve, make a bed of leaf lettuce on a medium-sized plate, and mount the carrots onto the lettuce.
Yield: 6 servings
Estimated Start-to-Finish Time: Not given
Actual Start-to-Finish Time: 1 hour (not counting time for the dressing to marinate)
Substitutions: We sauteed/steamed the carrots with a bit of water in a skillet with a lid on it. The original recipe said to steam the carrots for five minutes, but we found that they were still very crispy at this stage. The Gastronomer likes her carrots pretty soft, so we ended up cooking them much longer.