The weather right now is stifling in most parts of Eastern U.S., which, for me, means eating and drinking chilly offerings. Hot main entrees are okay; but adding a room temperature or chilled dish will cool down the collective heat. This summer salad fits the bill perfectly.
When I teach cooking classes in Atlanta, one of the challenges is coming up with recipes that will wow my students and offer me an opportunity to get creative, outside of my daily Latin musings. In one of those classes, I wanted to share an old time carrot salad recipe I grew up eating. With shredded carrots, roasted walnut, golden raisins, ginger and raspberry vinaigrette, this carrot salad, at first, may sound kind of blah, right? I mean, it sounds good & simple, but for me it was missing something. It occurred to me to make a thicker sauce instead of dressing it with the vinaigrette. So I quickly switched gears and pulled out a skillet, dark brown sugar and a box grinder.
Instead of just mixing all of the dry ingredients, including the grated ginger, I decided to caramelize the ginger in the butter and brown sugar and add the vinaigrette. This would infuse the flavor really well and allow the ginger to simmer down a bit from its raw bite. After a few minutes, it all smelled amazing and the end result was a really nice glaze for the salad. I still drizzled the salad with a bit of the vinaigrette, and for garnish, some strings of ginger, just to add a spicy bite!
Try this version of the salad in bibb lettuce cups and go to town! Then let me know what you think?
CARROT & ROASTED WALNUT W/GINGER SALAD
- 1 10 oz bag shoestring or shredded carrots
- 1.5 cups walnut halves, roasted
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 3 heaping tbsp. freshly grated ginger, parted
- 6 tbsp. raspberry vinaigrette, parted
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
In small skillet, sauté ginger in melting butter on medium heat. Slowly stir in brown sugar. Caramelize for 4-5 minutes, until sugar has melted and a dark and semi-thick glaze forms. Slowly stir in all but one tbsp. of vinaigrette. Stir for a few more seconds. Turn heat off and set aside. In large mixing bowl, add carrots, raisins and walnuts. Pour in glaze and blend all ingredients until carrots are nicely covered in glaze. Let sit for about 5 minutes so glaze can cool off. Splash a bit more vinaigrette and mix. Serve on bibb lettuce cup and top with a pinch of ginger strings.
Serves 3 oz. for 7-9. Enjoy!
For additional cooking advice from Bren Herrera, visit Flanboyanteats.com