On one of the hottest days of the summer, I wanted to do something quick and cold. Some salads are best when room temperature or tend to lose its chill from the fridge soon after it hits the table, so I wanted a salad that held its coolness far into enjoying it.
The best candidates for an extra cold salad are generally from regions that are experts at keeping cool in intense heat: South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. What each of these regions have in common with their salads are that the components are coarser in texture: bean sprouts in South East Asia, chunky cucumber and bulghur wheat in the Middle East and carrots in Northern Africa.
The latter of the options, Northern Africa, is famous for its cold carrot salad. A bright salad studded with plump, hydrated dried fruit, dressed with a tart, oftentimes spiced, dressing.
Moroccan Carrot Salad
For the Spiced Rhubarb Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh rhubarb, cut into chunks
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp cold pressed canola oil
In a blender, purée the rhubarb and vinegar until smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve, pressing down on the pulp to extract all of the juice. Discard the pulp.
To the rhubarb vinegar, whisk in the ground cumin, honey and oil. Set aside.
For the salad:
1-1/2 cups coarsely grated fresh carrots
1/2 cup dried cherries (or any dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, currants, although if you use dried apricots or prunes, chop them coarsely)
Reserved Spiced Rhubarb Dressing
In a small bowl, cover the dried cherries with hot water (I just use the tea kettle). Allow the dried cherries to rehydrate for 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the carrots and Spiced Rhubarb Dressing. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Strain the rehydrated dried cherries and fold into the chilled carrot salad. Serves 2.