I want to love carrot salad. I’ve tried lots of variations on it, and I just can’t get the right mix of flavors to tickle my palette. I was hopeful about this week’s French Friday with Dorie’s recipe: café style grated carrot salad, where the grated carrots are dressed with a honey mustard dressing. Optional ingredients are suggested. In the spring, I tried it with chopped chives, but this time I went with chopped toasted walnuts.
The salad is pretty, a burst of orange to complement most summer plates. The dressing is tangy, but also a little cloying at the same time. The nutty flavor of the walnuts was nice, but not enough to wow me. You can’t beat the easy of putting this salad together. I shook the dressing up in a jar, grated the carrots in the Cuisinart, toasted the nuts stovetop for a few minutes, and voilà! Not bad, but not the ultimate carrot salad I seek. J-OK (just OK) as my sister Jennifer says.
I don’t really have anything else to say about the carrot salad. I will show off my Quiche Caprese that I made in honor of Julia Child’s t100th birthday on Wednesday, August 15. Only the custard base was Julia’s recipe, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The rest is just an inspired tribute. I whisked a tablespoon of pesto into the custard. Then, I arranged sliced tomato and fresh mozzarella over a partial-baked pastry crust. The custard was poured over and baked until set. I had enough for a full tart plus a little tartlet. A slice accompanied by some carrot salad made a colorful plate.
Happy French Friday, all!
This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, the first one for June, is starting the month off right. A definite winner, Lentil, Lemon, and Tuna Salad had three big takeaways for me:
1. The final salad was delicious. It makes a good addition to the lunchbox. I like the taste of tuna, but sometimes, in tuna salad, the flavor gets lost in all that mayonnaise. Here, the tuna was an equal partner with lentils. The tastes all blended nicely, and slightly nutty texture was a pleaser too. I found this lasted well in the fridge (and then the lunchbox) for a few days without getting soft.
2. I tried out a new ingredient: preserved lemon. I didn’t have time for a shopping quest last week, so I didn’t purchase the preserved lemon. I did find this recipe to make my own facsimile. How can you lose with Mark Bittman (my secret crush)? This was a “quick” version, so the lemon was diced before “preserving”. I made it the day before and it should keep for a couple weeks. I’m a big lemon fan and the flavor of the salted lemon peel did not disappoint. I used about half a cup, finely chopped, in the tuna salad. I’ll use the rest to try out some Moroccan recipes I’ve passed on in the past for lack of preserved lemon on hand.
3. The dressing for this salad is one I’ll use again and again this summer. The addition of grainy mustard and olive tapenade to a simple vinaigrette infused the dressing with a touch of Provence. I loved how it matched up with the lentils, but know that I will use it with other salads (white bean salad and green bean salad are at the top of the list). I love finding components of one recipe that I can reuse in others. Dorie’s book is chock full of these.
I cooked the lentils the way I usually do, with chopped onion and bay leaves. They only need to simmer about 15 or 20 minutes to be perfect for salads.
I’ll be short this week. I’m leaving later this morning to spend the weekend in New York City with my sisters and wanted to write up this post before I depart. If you have any suggestions on things to do or places to see (or eat), please share. I can read comments while I’m away.
For those of you that follow my bee (mis)adventures, I am happy to report that I’m back in normal comfort zone. The bee sting itching has subsided, and other than the ugly bandage over the worst bite on my foot, I’m no worse for the wear. As they say, “Stay Calm and Carry On”.
If you’re looking for the recipe for the delicious Lentils, Lemon, and Tuna Salad, you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. You can also read through others interpretations of this recipe (and others) on the Leave Your Link post for this recipe at French Fridays with Dorie.