Carrot salad with currants, red currant mustard vinaigrette, sorrel and Kamut
Some farmers like to show off their carrot colors, like a peacock displays its feathers: purples, reds, yellows and the more ordinary but still beautiful orange variety. Brightly colored raw ingredients give the final dish a punch of color and offer endless possibilities for presentation, as in this brightly flavored carrot salad.
This salad is a nod to the carrot raisin salad some of us remember from childhood. Honey and mayonnaise still convince kids to eat--even love-- carrots, right? I've added Zante currants (the dried variety) to this recipe, along with red currant mustard in the vinaigrette. If you can't find sorrel, a favorite ingredient of spring, radicchio makes a good substitute. Kamut, an ancient wheat grain, is sprinkled on top of the salad, adding texture and nutty flavor. Cooked in generously salted simmering water for 50 to 60 minutes, it will become tender, yet still pleasantly al dente.
Use a mandolin to slice the carrots as thinly as possible. For larger carrots, a box grater or the grating attachment on a food processor can be used instead, to achieve uniform shapes and thicknesses.
Makes 4 servings as A FIRST COURSE DINNER, OR a LUNCH SALAD
8 medium-size carrots, one color or a mix
1/2 cup currants
10 leaves red sorrel, or 1/2 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1/2 cup of cooked kamut or farro (the two grains are cooked the same way, and have similar textures)
Put the carrots, currants and sorrel or radicchio in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and use your hands to toss the ingredients together. Add the viniagrette, mixing well to evenly coat the ingredients. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper, as desired.
Arrange the salad on 4 individual plates or a later platter, and sprinkle the kamut over the top. Serve immediately.
3 tablespoons vermouth or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon red currant or grain mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Whisk the vinegar and mustard together. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly to emulsify the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.