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This is the carrot salad that I fell in love with as a child in France ... simply grated carrots with a vinaigrette dressing. When we returned to the States and I found carrot salad in a mayonnaise dressing with raisins, sometimes nuts, and sometimes pineapple added, I thought the world had fallen off its axis! In my little culinary mind at the time, I couldn't imagine how that could be better than a simple vinaigrette! I still struggle with that concept and that's why this salad makes the blog and the other doesn't.
Start with the freshest, most beautiful organic carrots you can find. Or pick up a bag at the store, but get the freshest you can! If you are able to get some with the greens still attached, save those for smoothies. Don't you dare throw all that valuable Vitamin C in the trash can!
Then, it's just a matter of choosing which way to grate them. The box grater and straight grater work fine, but you might be sore the next day ... it's lots of work! I have a hand-cranked grater that I love and isn't a ton of work nor does it take a very long time. I also have a food processor which reduces the time spent grating to mere seconds. Choose your weapon. Be sure to grate the carrots in a large enough bowl to be able to mix the vinaigrette in. The more space the better!
How to make the vinaigrette
The vinaigrette is three parts oil to one part vinegar, a bit of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. I usually mix it in a jar and shake it. Pour a little on, mix, then add more if you want. You can eat the salad right away, but it is well served by hanging out a while and marinating all those flavors together. The next day is the best, I think! And I usually make well more than two pounds of carrots at a time just so I can have it for days!
I could grab a fork any day and eat this straight from the fridge, but a more civilized way to serve it is as an accompaniment to sandwiches, to meats of any kinds ... grilled garlic chicken! ... My earliest memories of this salad was at dinner when Mom would serve a soup, then as a second course, carrot salad with cold cuts and cheese and baguette. Such a cozy, casual, perfectly French evening meal.
Other recipes you might like:
Carrot Salad with Vinaigrette
- 2 pounds of carrots about 1 kilogram
- 1 cup 240 mL olive oil
- ¼ cup 60 mL red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons 15 mL Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon 2.5 mL garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and grate the carrots into a bowl large enough to mix them with the vinaigrette.
- Mix all the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously to combine. Pour a little onto the grated carrots, mix, then taste. Add as much vinaigrette to the carrots as suits your tastes and adjust the seasoning.
- As delicious as it is on its own, it's also wonderful with sandwiches or meats of any kind ... imagine garlic-grilled chicken!