As quickly as it arrived it was gone. Last week it rained for one day; that morning the skies were a dark stormy grey and rain poured down for most of the day with an intensity that seemed to finally signal an official start to fall.
Being somewhat resistant to change, my heart still longed for summer, for all its light and brightness, but I felt finally ready to welcome the cooler weather and cozier days. I’d changed my mind, call me fickle, but I was now feeling somewhat enamored with fall and all the magnificent sunset shades of the season.
Only a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure that I was ready. Now I thought to myself, this would be the time to start revisiting those classic cold-weather comfort foods, to curl up in a blanket with a warm cup of tea and enjoy the sound of rain tapping on the windows, and therefore the sound of water rushing was a welcoming one.
That day socks and a sweater were put on with a shiver and I found myself ambling through the house, my gaze falling on the rain streaked windows each time I passed by. It was grey and gloomy, and I loved it. It surprised me, but I liked sleeping with socks on and waking up to a chilly room the next morning.
It was settled, fall was here and I was looking to make something warm and comforting; except that it wasn’t, at least not for long. Just as quickly as the rain had arrived, the sunshine elbowed its way back in and my plans for soup and heartier fare were quickly thwarted.
And so, this past weekend the sun shining above, lunch was back outside; a simple salad of carrots with watercress and orange blossom water, bright as summer, yet with the earthy spiciness of cooler weather to come.
Bursting at the seams with all sorts of assorted vitamins and minerals, the humble carrot is so tried and true that it has sadly become ordinary. Perhaps the problem is that we have become so accustomed to eating them raw and unadorned as snacks that we seldom think to embellish them.
Here a leafy tumble of crisp watercress serves as a bed for cumin scented carrots in a fragrant orange blossom dressing and is punctuated with crunchy marcona almonds and green olives.
The cumin adds an earthiness to the carrots, while the orange blossom water lends a bright floral kiss. The key to this salad is to allow some time for the flavors of the cooked carrots and dressing to mellow and marry.
By the time I sat down to eat, I was almost pleased with fall for having duped me.
RECIPE: Carrot and Watercress Salad with Orange Blossom Water Dressing
- 2 small bunches of carrots, peeled
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 large bunch of watercress, washed and dried
- ½ cup/ 100g oil-cured pitted green olives, halved or quartered depending on size
- ¼ cup/ 30g salted marcona almonds
- For the Cumin & Orange Blossom Dressing
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, finely smashed
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large wide shallow pan of water to the boil, adding ½ teaspoon salt. Add whole carrots and simmer about 6 to 8 minutes or until just tender but still firm. Refresh under cold running water. Drain well.
- In the meantime make the cumin & orange blossom dressing. Combine the cumin, olive oil, white wine vinegar, smashed garlic and orange blossom water in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Place the cooked carrots in serving bowl with the dressing (reserving some for later) and toss gently until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours to develop the flavors.
- In a large bowl toss the fresh parsley and watercress with the remaining dressing until just combined. Add the carrots and gently combine. Top with chopped green olives and macron almonds and serve immediately.
Prepare this recipe up to the point of dressing the carrots 1 day ahead reserving some dressing. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Add the parsley and watercress and reserved dressing to the carrots just before serving and top with olives and almonds.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 8 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 4
Copyright © 2010-2011 gourmande in the kitchen.
What are some of your favorite ways to eat carrots?