Originating in France, where it’s called carottes râpées, this French Carrot Salad is one of my new favourite salads. Having walked round many French supermarkets, I can easily picture cuboid tubs of this on the shelves in the chiller section, but I have no recollection of ever eating this in a restaurant out there – what a missed opportunity!
I started making this a few months ago when a pretty near empty fridge, a lack of desire to traipse to the shops, and the need for something healthy to serve to my family motivated me to google the words ‘carrot salad’. To be honest I didn’t hold out too much hope about being inspired, but boy was I wrong.
There are so many grated carrot salads out there. I had a quick read through a number of recipes then went away to have a play. Sticking to the French carrot salad idea, this is what I came up with. I’ve used lime juice instead of lemon as I like the flavour (although lemon works brilliantly if that is all you have in), and I love the addition of the spring onion.
However, the crowning glory of this salad is the totally un-French addition of the nigella seeds. If you don’t have any in, do still go ahead and make the salad, it is really gorgeous without them. But the addition of these tiny black, nutty, oniony seeds really finishes this salad off, both in the way of looks and flavour. I’m sure anyone with an ounce of French heritage in their blood would disagree, but I’m going to ignore that fact as they really do go beautifully.
Incidentally, the seeds are really easy to pick up from the supermarket. In Tesco you can find them in a spice jar, right next to the nutmeg.
The first time I made this I used four medium carrots for the four of us, but since then I’ve upped the quantity and the bowl is left empty every time. You can serve this alongside pretty much any simple meat or fish dish.
French Carrot Salad
- 4 large or 6 medium carrots (peeled and topped and tailed)
- 1 spring onion
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon lime juice
- ¾ teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Few grindings black pepper
- ½ tablespoon nigella seeds
- Coarsely grate the carrots (I like to hold them flat against the grater to get the longest strips possible).
- Finely slice the spring onion on the diagonal and toss with the carrot.
- Mix together the olive oil, mustard, lime juice, honey and seasoning. Pour over the carrot mixture and toss together.
- Sprinkle over the nigella seeds.
- Serve immediately.