I knew that with carrots as fresh as the ones in my veg box from Sutton Community Farm, a scheme I waxed lyrical about in my last post, I would have to make some sort of salad with them to make the most of their sweet, just picked flavour. I grated the carrots, nestled them reverentially on a handful of rocket leaves and then made up a dressing which was citrus sweet’n’sour, rich with cumin and humming with a little cayenne pepper. It was delicious!
An Exotic Carrot Salad
- 4 carrots, scrubbed. Only peel then if they are not organic or if they are old as the skins can be bitter
- handful of rocket leaves (or use other salad leaves if you have them)
- 5 or 6 toasted walnuts halves
- 1 tsp Za”atar spice mix
For the dressing
- a pinch of salt
- ½ tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- juice of half an small orange
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 Tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Grate the carrots and place in a salad bowl on top of a handful of rocket leaves.
- Mix together the ingredients for the dressing – it will be a loose affair rather than an emulsified one. Don’t add all the lemon juice at once though – taste as you go along and adjust the flavours/seasoning to your palate.
- Pour the dressing over the grated carrots and rocket leaves and toss.
- Top with crumbled toasted walnuts and the za’atar and toss again.
- Serve immediately.
I came across this recipe which originates from Puglia, in the early 90’s, in a copy of Elle Decoration – a magazine I adored. The issue is long gone but I have never forgotten how wonderful this sauce tasted. I can remember feeling genuinely surprised that something so simple and uncooked could have such depth of flavour. Well, that will be the anchovies – when blended like this, there is no fishy odour or taste – just a deep, satisfying undertone to a bright and summery sauce.
Now, I haven’t tried this but I am pretty sure that you can substitute tamari sauce for the anchovies – this would make it vegan/vegetarian and keep it wheat free too. Tamari and Soya sauces are both made with fermented soybeans but soy sauce includes wheat and is saltier.
The recipe does require a lot of herbs but these can be bought so easily nowadays – in the supermarkets, in the green grocers and in the ethnic food shops too and they add so much flavour and colour to other dishes that you won’t regret it. Trim the stalks and keep them in a vase/tumbler of water and they will last quite a while.
As daffodils and cherry blossom are coming into bloom, this bright, zingy sauce seems just the thing to herald the much anticipated Spring season. This Walnut, Herb and Anchovy Sauce would also be delicious slathered on fish or lamb.
29 May 2014 – I am really thrilled to say that this recipe is a Community Pick over on Food52 and that California Walnuts have asked to use it on their website!
Walnut, Herb and Anchovy Pasta Sauce
- 1 cup of toasted walnuts
- 6 anchovies preserved in oil (or substitute Tamari sauce starting with 1 Tbsp and adjusting the flavour to your palate)
- 100 g flat leaf parsley including the stems
- 40 g basil leaves
- 40 g mint leaves
- 20 g tarragon leaves
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 1 shallot
- ¼ c olive oil
- ¼ c water
- lemon juice
- Whiz the toasted nuts in food processor until coarsely chopped.
- Add the anchovies, herbs, garlic, shallot, water and pulse until it becomes a coarse puree.
- Then add the olive oil and whiz until combined.
- Stir in 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.
- Taste and adjust the flavour, stirring in additional lemon juice, salt and pepper to make the sauce sing.
- Toss into hot pasta, thinning with a little of the pasta water and finishing with a drizzle of good EVOO.
- Slash a whole fish and slather in the cavity and in the slashes; roast in the oven or cook on the barbecue.
- Top fish fillets or steaks with a spoonful of sauce and a dribble of wine; bake in parchment (thanks Tish!)
- Serve on the side with roast lamb or fish steaks.
- Spread baguette slices with a creamy goats cheese and top with a slice of roasted red pepper and little of the sauce; finish a drizzle of EVOO.