Spring Carrot and Mint Salad: What shall I do with all that Mint?

Perhaps an Easter dinner accompaniment?

Ever come across a recipe that combines ingredients that read so prettily you have to try it?  Here it is – and it’s easy to prepare for a meal or picnic, yet so yummy it may become your healthy answer when that urge for a crunchy munchy hits.   This salad delights with the surprise of freshly ground pepper and mint.  And it’s economical, especially if you are blessed and cursed with an invasive patch of mint like we have.   Many moons ago a friend gave me a copy of The Silver Palate Cookbook where I found this recipe, called Carrot Rapees (rapees is the French word for grated).  We planned to share many meals together from this book, but our lives turned in different directions and it has been, as I said, many moons. Although this wonderful book has fallen apart it is far too good to toss.

A little background on this dish places it in France: a sort of national food found nearly everywhere in one form or another. While essentially grating carrots and adding a little vinaigrette can do the job….this combination is heavenly.  

What you’ll need:

3 large carrots,cleaned and peeled (I don’t peel mine)

1/2 cup dried currants (can use raisins)

juice of 1 medium sized orange

juice of 1 medium sized lemon

1/4 cup mild vegetable oil (I use canola)

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (the pepper is very important)

Coarsely shred carrots.  I’m going to go ahead and confess here that I actually get kind of itchy when I see people cut off half the strawberry in order to remove the stem.  I feel the same way about all veges and fruits (thanks to my Scottish heritage), wasting as little as possible. A great way to prevent grating parts of your fingers in to the salad is to scrub the carrots well and just take off the tiny end tip.  Leave the top intact and use that end to hold your carrots while grating.  That way you can grate almost down to the end without wasting much carrot.  Easily strip the leaves of the mint from the stems by lightly sliding your fingers from the top of  the stem down, then coarsely chop. For the lemon and orange I appreciate the juicer I inherited from my mother-in-law.  It gets all the juice!

Once all ingredients are assembled, toss together in a bowl, like this:


This beautiful bunny bowl was a find at a fair. I knew the woman who had hand-made it.  She was a lovely person and I like that this bowl gets a new life. It always waits patiently. 🙂

This will keep for several days if you make enough of it.  Today I’m taking a bit of culinary artistic license and adding a touch of lemon balm from the garden – as equally invasive as the mint, and using golden raisins because I don’t have currants on the shelf.  Currants are uniquely different from raisins and golden raisins, and I prefer to use them.  It turns out this variation is also nice.  Serves 4-6 hungry bunnies!

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