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I used to totally hate carrots when I was a kid. I didn’t really like any vegetables and the fact that they were prepared for me in a rather unimaginative way didn’t help. Grated carrots with only a squeeze of lemon for seasoning. Cooked cabbage. Sauerkraut. Plain cauliflower. Boiled onions. Raw turnips. Oh, all right – I made the last two up but the truth is my wonderful Mother was by no means a wonderful cook.
I’m still a bit suspicious of carrots. In my view they are the kind of veg that has to have something decisive done to it: season it to death, cook it in an ingenious way; put striking spice on them. Which is not a wrong approach: ever tried carrots cooked with cinnamon? With caraway and honey? Fondant carrots? Hey, we’ve all come a long way from veg boiled to mush in unsalted water.
Raw carrots have to be exceptionally good for me to crunch one for a snack. It’s actually the flagship vegetable for organic growing: there’s a world of difference in taste between one of those and a victim of pesticides and fertilisers.
This is a serious improvement on my childhood’s grated carrot salad. I call it zingy carrots but might as well call it singing carrots as the taste explodes in a symphony in this dish. Experiment away with the amounts of seasoning but don’t skip the tarragon on any account. Or ginger. Or caraway. Just do it as I laid it out allright???
zingy carrotsServings: 2-4Time: 15 minutes plus souring the cream for an hour
- 100ml (about 1/3 cup) sour cream
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp lime juice, more to taste
- 300g carrots (4 medium), peeled
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- salt and black pepper
- a large pinch of sugar
- ½ tsp caraway seeds, ground in pestle and mortar
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon
1. Stir the salt and 1 tsp lime juice into the sour cream; about an hour ahead if possible, leaving it to stand at room temperature.
2. Julianne the carrots or grate them coarsely. Deseed the jalapeno and slice it very thinly; add most of it to the carrots. Season generously with salt and black pepper; add the other spices and the tarragon. Stir in the sour cream and toss well to mix.
3. Taste for seasoning; add the remaining chili if you wish and serve.