Carrots, Peanuts, Cilantro, oh my!

I promised you guys a recipe a while back, didn’t I? I hadn’t forgotten, but it’s been crazy the last couple weeks. No more than you’d expect before Christmas in my line of work really, but still, paired with the responsibility for my brood, which obviously comes with Christmas bazaar, a sick kid, a full workload, plus celebrations in both schools, for which you’re not only expected to show up and look pretty, but, generally, bake – I will say that it’s been challenging.
But as every year, it’s also rewarding to see the kids do their thing. In my son’s class, the kids were in charge of the whole program – the teacher wasn’t even involved in the planning. So, aside from the usual poems, Christmas carols and scratchy violin performances, I swear that two of the girls actually staged one of Monty Python’s finest – the one with the dead parrot … remember? In the spirit of being open-minded about the whole seasonal stuff, I’m sure, a few boys then went on to tell some of the lamest blonde jokes I ever heard :-).
So, all that happened… and now for something completely different:-))):  That recipe is, as I mentioned before, for a carrot salad, and it comes not with a nod but a deep bow to my friend F. who was good enough to make it for a dinner party I was actually hosting – evcharistopoli, dear F! Ingredients are pretty straightforward if you’re into Asian cuisine. Should fish sauce, sesame oil, cilantro and peanuts not be part of your staples, it might be a good idea to hit an Asian grocery shop first and stock up.
You will need:
4-6 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 handful of blanched peanuts, chopped
1 large handful of cilantro, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
3-4 TS cooking oil
a generous dash of sesame oil
pinch of sugar
fish sauce to taste – take it easy, it’s a really intense flavor
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Grate your carrots, chop the nuts and cilantro and put the ingredients in a bowl.


Next, you mix your dressing. Juice the lemon, combine with oil and sesame oil, salt, sugar and fish sauce in a jar, shake thoroughly and taste. Careful with the fish sauce and salt, or you’ll be doing it all over again. If happy with the taste (we’re aiming for tangy and salty, with a little sweetness and the nutty flavor of the sesame oil thrown into the mix. It should be really yummy even without the other ingredients), add your dressing and some pepper if you like to the fresh ingredients and toss your salad. Set aside for at least a half hour to allow the flavors to blend.

It’s a pretty accommodating recipe: The other week, it was a simple side dish for roast chicken, but it’s also great as a starter if you’re making a Thai dish. I’ve made it for barbecue salad buffets, and for parties. It’s actually perfect for that because it only gets better after the flavors have had some time to infuse. There’s one salad you needn’t worry about getting spoiled after you’ve dressed it.


I hope you’ll like it – enjoy, and let me know how it went when you make it.

Next time, I’ll need to tell you about the corn chowder I’ve learned to love so much. It’s a soup after my own heart: nourishing, healthy, quick and easy to make – and absolutely lovely with some white bread ;-))).

See you soon, and please don’t go crazy with Christmas only a week away!