I discovered these little boxes of organic grape tomatoes and they are, my, oh my, something else. Wee morsels that explode in your mouth in a confusing fireworks of flavour: sweet, sour, a hard shell that gives way to sudden squirts of a charmed infusion. I just pop them in my mouth all day long. Sometimes I even throw them into the air and grab them with my feral teeth.
It's been a while. I apologize for the absence but it's been all fireflies and morning mist and as August nears I got shook awake. I'd love to have a good month long nap in a hammock in Nicarauga but until then here's a bit of Morocco.
I seem to have a few Morrocan carrot salads in my repertoire and I'm not even entirely sure what makes them authentically or inauthentically Morrocan; is it the mint? the chickpeas? the toasted cumin seeds? I could call this recipe a dozen different descriptors but it really doesn't matter because it is simply just delicious. And that's the plain truth. Trust me.
The reliably hardy, earthy tasting carrot up against the sweet pliable bits of found dried cherry and matched with a pretty hefty spicy dressing including cumin and cayenne but also grounded in the force of chickpeas who are really like bouncers at a nasty late night girlie club -- constantly managing the forces with their light sabre glare and firm biceps, makes for a spectacular salad. Who knew I had a weakness for muscles.
A few quick tips:
buy bunched carrots from the farmers market if possible, the long slender ones with the verdant tops -- they are a reminder of what carrots are supposed to taste like! takes me right back to pulling up carrots from the garden when I was growing up. It was a challenge to get to them before our friendly neighbourhood rabbits did!
do toast the cumin seeds. it only takes a few minutes and the aromatic result is doubly worth the effort.
MORROCAN CARROT AND CHICKPEA SALAD
For 2 (but easily doubled, tripled, you know...)
5 carrots, peeled and sliced thin on the single blade of a box grater (mandolin works well too)
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup dried pluots or cherries cut into 1/2 inch bits
handful each of chopped fresh mint and chopped fresh dill
a generous toss in of sliced or slivered almonds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sweet white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant, about a minute or two.
In a jar or a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, cumin seeds and cayenne with the sea salt.
In a salad bowl, combine the carrots, chickpeas, dried fruit, mint/dill, and almonds and gently toss with the dressing by adding a few tablespoons at a time until everything is glistening and gently coated.