I love cookbooks and have a large collection. These days it’s convenient to find plenty of excellent recipes on-line, but I still enjoy cookbooks. Even though I have many, there are a few that I return to again and again. One of my favorites authors is Claudia Roden, who was born and raised in Egypt and is a James Beard award winner. She has written many wonderful books about Mediterranean, Jewish and Middle Eastern cooking. One that I find really special is Arabesque : A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon. The recipes are very simple, a quality I appreciate, and invariably delicious.
This particular recipe for carrot salad is one that I have made many times. Carrot salads are very common in Morocco, and often sold by vendors on the street. It’s warming, grounding and satisfying, and a good winter salad. Ms. Roden suggests to serve it cold. I prefer it at room temperature. Here it is:
CARROT SALAD with CUMIN and GARLIC
5 large carrots (about 1 1/4 pounds)
4 tablesspoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and black pepper
juice of half a lemon
Peel or wash and scrape the carrots and trim of the tops and tails. Cut them in quarters lengthwise and then cut each quarter in half to produce sticks. Boil in salted water for 10-15 minutes, until tender but not too soft, then drain.
In a large skillet, heat the oil and put in the carrots, garlic, cumin and some salt and pepper. Saute on a medium-high heat, stirring and turning the carrots over, until the garlic just begins to color.
Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve.