North African-Spiced Carrot and Parsnip Salad
Harissa, a North African pepper-and-spice paste, adds a suggestion of heat to this salad, a flavorful tangle of earthy and sweet ingredients. Toasted spices infuse the dish with their warmth, while the smooth richness of extra-virgin olive oil brings depth and harmonizes the flavors.
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
- 3 large carrots, about 3/4 lb. total
- 3 large parsnips, about 3/4 lb. total
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 3/4 tsp. harissa
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or mint
In a small, heavy fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the cinnamon, cumin, coriander and ginger, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Peel the carrots and parsnips and shred them on the large holes of a box grater-shredder. Set aside.
In a small nonreactive bowl, whisk together the toasted spices, lemon juice, honey, harissa and a scant 1/2 tsp. salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well blended to make a dressing. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
In a bowl, stir together the pistachios and a pinch of salt. Add the carrots and parsnips, raisins, 1/2 tsp. salt, several grinds of pepper and the dressing and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer the salad to a platter or serving bowl, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately. Serves. 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Salads, by Dina Cheney (Oxmoor House, 2009).