Sometimes the carrot at the end of the stick is a – carrot.
We go through pounds and pounds around here. You could open the refrigerator any given time, and likely find a bag of them because they are the go-to snack, salad filler, appetizer dipper and side dish. And why not? Cheap, low-cal, full of all things beneficial, crunchy and satisfying, carrots are chamelions. They completely change their identity when they roasted, or braised along with a pot roast or chicken, or simply glazed with butter. And locovores, go ahead and shudder, but carrots taste great all year ’round.
In addition to the usual ways of eating carrots, we also use them as the main ingredient in carrot salads. Since it’s easy to find a bag of grated carrots these days, we really have no excuse not to make the Turkish version with yogurt or the more Mediterranean version without yogurt. We all know that we have about three more weeks of exhausting summer temps ahead of us. So, if you haven’t tried these carrot salads, go ahead, cool off you palate.
Turkish Meze Carrot Salad
Well, it’s called a salad, but it’s really a dip. The best dipper is triangles of soft pita bread, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cups shredded carrots
2 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
3-4 Tbsp. dill, chopped
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add carrots, stir to coat in oil. Cook, stirring occassionally, about 4-5 minutes, until carrots have wilted but still have a little crunch. Remove pan from heat and put a lid on it to let the carrots sweat while you make the yogurt sauce.
Crush the garlic cloves and place in a large bowl. Add the salt, and with a wooden spoon, mash the garlic and salt together into a paste. Add yogurt and dill and stir to blend. Stir in carrots. Serve at room temperature with lightly toasted pita bread to dip.
Israeli Carrot Salad (That’s what my mother always called it)
This one doesn’t require any cooking time, so you really should grate your own carrots for a better, fresher flavor. This is a side dish instead of a dip (without the yogurt to hold it together, you just end up chasing it around the plate unless you use a fork.)
2 cups shredded carrots
1 garlic clove, minched
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
juice and grated zest of one lemon
salt to taste
Combine all ingredients. Serve at room temperature or chilled.