Eating a salad like this for an appetizer is going to be delicious and guarantee that your drink goes straight to your head. If you decide to have the salad with something substantial, like dinner, you won’t be disappointed by a salad that is simultaneously simple and refined. It also takes almost no time to put together and is pretty flexible when it comes to the dressing.
David and I started making this salad when we were on a French kick. Naturally we turned to David Lebovitz for his expertise. There are plenty of delicious salads out there but we weren’t about to put together a rich savory salad like a Salad Lyonaise or a roasted beet salad precisely because they provide less of a contrast to buttery French main courses. There is something about grated carrot which feels both refreshing and just a little bit sweet.
David had to teach me, over his favorite glazed carrots, that carrots themselves are naturally a bit sweet. I guess I knew that intrinsically but had never really thought about it before I heard him talking about it. Cooking carrots down slowly is how in a dozen different recipes sweetness gets added without adding processed sugar. Carrots make a really great contrast then to a vinaigrette especially when refreshed with some parsley.
Parsley is like my go to herb for “freshness.” Add parsley to a heavy pasta and it becomes light and refined. Add parsley to a salad and it brightens everything up. I also use coriander leaf (I’m getting political now) when the flavors are more Asian, Spanish or Mexican. (Cilantro refers to the leaves of the coriander plant).
2-3 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 tsp. dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Prepare the carrots and parsley and set aside. In a bowl large enough to contain the grated carrot combine the dijon mustard, the lemon juice, salt and whisk in the olive oil until it is emulsified. (It should be thickened up a bit). Feel free to add a little more olive oil or adjust the lemon juice as necessary depending on the acidity and juiciness of the lemon. Experiment until it tastes good to you; these are more guidelines to follow.
Combine the ingredients together and serve immediately. You could have it with dinner or with a cocktail, just remember the salad isn’t nearly as substantial as other appetizers!