To what lengths do you go to give away your surplus produce at this time of year? Are you the proverbial neighbor who rings the doorbell and runs, leaving behind a 4-lb. squash that will take all afternoon to grate for zucchini fritters? Do you casually drop by a friend’s house and “forget” a basket of plums that you don’t have time to make into jam? Do you foist carrot salads upon unsuspecting dinner hosts?I admit nothing.
I like grated vegetable salads in the no-lettuce seasons, and grating carrots is the quickest way I know to make them the star of the show. (If you have more time, I also love this orange-roasted carrot and avocado salad.)
You can take a grated carrot salad in any direction, but I think olive oil, lemon–more lemon than you might think–and salt are a nice place to start. I find that lots of lemon helps to enhance and balance the sweetness of the carrots. The idea of adding cumin and smoked paprika came from this Moroccan carrot salad recipe, and each contributes a little hint of smoke and mystery to the salad’s flavor.
Lemony Carrot Salad with Cumin and Smoked Paprika: Peel and coarsely grate a pound of carrots. Combine in a serving bowl with a nice pour of good olive oil, the juice of two (or more) juicy small lemons, a big handful of chopped parsley, two pressed cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. each cumin and smoked paprika (hot or sweet, your choice), and plenty of salt. Toss well and let sit for at least an hour to allow the flavors to blend. Toss again and taste, adding more salt, lemon, or olive oil to taste before serving.