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This time of year, when we're all stuffed to the gills with rich food, it's nice to have a little dish that's simple, flavorful and not oozing with butter. More often than not, this is when I turn to carrots. I try to keep several pounds in my fridge at all times because they can just do so darn much.
On nights when dinnertime inspiration is low, I turn them into a pureed soup (I love the recipe with toasted almonds that's in the original Moosewood Cookbook). When I need an easy side, I cut them into sticks and roast them in olive oil. Snacks around my apartment almost always involve a sliced carrot and a tub of hummus.
And at those times when I want something that's a cross between a pickle and a salad, I blanch them lightly and toss them with a basic vinaigrette.
This recipe is essentially my riff on the marinated carrot salad you so often find on the pickle bar at falafel joints. I've streamlined the ingredients a little, to keep it easy and pantry-friendly, and whenever I make it, the bowl or jar empties fast. I like to eat them out of the jar with a fork for lunch, or put them out on a buffet of cold salads.
Before You Start Blanching
Here are a few things you should know: Do make sure to peel the carrots. It allows the dressing to penetrate better and generally makes for a nicer looking salad.
Feel free to make it yours. Don't like mint? Substitute a bit of flat leaf parsley or cilantro.
It doubles and triples well, so make more than you think you need and stash the leftovers in the fridge.
This recipe gets better as it ages, so if you're pressed for time, make it a day or two in advance. Just let it sit out for a few minutes before serving, to take the chill off.
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About the author: Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated pickler who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars.