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Heirloom Carrot Salad with Olives, Capers and Mint

Carrots are an essential staple of almost any kitchen. They are available year-round, though their season varies across the United States. The difference in taste between a carrot that has been freshly picked or sold at a farmer’s market with its leafy top still attached and that of a specimen bought at a supermarket is enormous. There are many varieties of carrots; some of them range in color from a pale off-white reminiscent of icicles to a tawny yellow with hints of green at the stem end when peeled.

Here, sweet, tender-crisp carrots contrast beautifully with briny olives, capers and pungent mint.

Heirloom carrot salad with olives, capers and mint
Heirloom carrot salad with olives, capers and mint

a generous pinch of salt
2 cups water
5 to 6 medium-sized heirloom carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ batons
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
a scant pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of ground cumin
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup mixed pitted olives
1 tablespoon capers
sea salt
red pepper chile flakes (optional)

Bring two cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until carrots are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, then immediately plunge into bowl of ice water to halt the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Combine rice wine vinegar, cayenne pepper and cumin in a small bowl. Pour over the carrots. Marinate for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator, or preferably overnight.

Just prior to serving, whisk lemon juice, mint and extra-virgin olive oil together. Taste for salt. Add a scant pinch of red pepper chile flakes to the vinaigrette, if using.

Add olives and capers to the carrot mixture. Spoon vinaigrette over; toss to lightly coat vegetables, then serve immediately.

Time: 10 minutes, not including prep.

This is my submission for Weekend Herb Blogging #282, currently hosted by Astrid of Paulchen’s Foodblog?! and organized by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything. Weekend Herb Blogging is a weekly foodblogging event that was originally begun by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.

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