Apart from potatoes, my Irishman has a thing for carrot salads. So when I came across the ‘carrots from the charcuterie’ in my friend Clotilde’s fab book ‘Tasting Paris’ I started playing around.
The secret is to use the best carrots you can. I had a bunch from my friend Ellen’s garden which were out-of-this-world good. But I’ve also had success with baby carrots from my green grocer. Although thinking about it, I’m sure supermarket carrots would be good too.
If your carrots don’t have their tops (or if the tops are a little sad) just use a bunch of parsley instead. You can either serve with one of the protein options to make a whole meal of it. Or leave out the protein and use it as a pretty side dish.
Great with a good steak or roast chicken. Oh and one trick I learned from Tasting Paris is that the French use neutral flavoured oil in their dressings as opposed to the ubiquitous extra virgin olive oil. It makes for a completely different dressing experience. I just use my cheaper cooking olive oil (not my extra virgin).
Sunny Parisian Carrot Bowls
- large bunch baby carrots about 500g / 1lb
- carrot tops or 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons rice or wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 6 tablespoons neutral flavoured oil
- 300 g (10oz) cooked protein (see below for ideas)
- 2 handfuls toasted sunflower seeds
Grate carrots using a food processor or box grater. Pick carrot tops or parsley leaves and discard stems or finely chop the leaves and stems and use everything.
Combine vinegar, mustard, oil and a generous pinch of salt in a small jar. Shake until well combined. Toss carrot, carrot tops / parsley with the dressing. Taste and season as needed.
Divide carrot mixture between two bowls and sprinkle over protein and sunflower seeds.
WINE MATCH: A glass of champagne or rose.
Variations & Substitutions
protein ideas - boiled or poached eggs, cooked chicken (pictured), bacon, salami, chickpeas, crumbled feta, goats cheese, shaved parmesan, sardines, canned tuna, canned salmon.
sunflower alternatives - any roast nuts like almonds, hazlenuts, walnuts. Toasted croutons or bread crumbs are another option.
more substantial (carb lovers) - pile onto a crusty buttered baguette.
more substantial (low carb) - increase the protein or use a few different types of protein. Or use nuts like hazelnut or almonds as well as the sunflower seeds.
lower-carb - use some lower carb veg with the carrots. Or replace the carrots with lower carb veg. Cauliflower, kohlrabi or shaved fennel would be my pick. Finely sliced red cabbage will work too.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
carrots – keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for weeks. Can be frozen if you’re leaving town!
carrot tops / leaf parsley – tends to be the most long lasting of the leafy herbs. Should keep for a few weeks in the fridge if wrapped in a plastic bag. For longer periods pop it in the freezer – it will wilt but will still be useable in this dish.
rice or wine vinegar/ dijon mustard/ neutral flavoured oil / sunflower seeds - keep them in the pantry.
cooked protein - freeze it.
This is one of those salads that keeps well in the fridge for a week or so. Don't freeze. And keep the sunflower seeds separate so they don't go soggy.
Have fun in the kitchen!