Your neighbor stops by with a basketful of just-picked zucchinis from her bumper crop. You return from the supermarket laden with priced-to-sell tomatoes, so bursting with juicy ripeness that you know, for sure, that the next day they’ll be rotten. Gazing at your overflowing garden, you realize that you forgot to space out the planting of your green beans, and they’ve all appeared at the same darn time. For these situations and more, everyone needs to have at their fingertips recipes that can cope with an overabundance of one particular vegetable.
Preserving is always an option, of course, but I usually need a little more instant gratification. So do the veggies. Anyone remember that holiday episode of Friends where Joey tries to convince Phoebe that pine trees want to be cut down so they can fulfill their dream of becoming Christmas trees? Well that’s similar to what ripe and ready veggies say to me – please don’t stick me in a jar for months on end; my dream is to be eaten while I am fresh and beautiful.
So, in my kitchen, a tomato bounty is converted into pappa al pomodoro, an unexpected oversupply of zucchini flowers is transformed into pasta with zucchini blossom sauce, and an excess of eggplants leads to a container-full of caponata. And now, thanks to the recipe below, a couple pounds of carrots is transformed into refreshingly tangy Algerian Carrot Salad.
Algerian Carrot Salad
Adapted from Food by Country
2 pounds carrots
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Peel the carrots. Cut the skinny sections of the carrots in half lengthwise, and the fatter sections in quarters lengthwise, so that you end up with relatively uniform-width sticks approximately three inches long.
Put the carrots in a medium saucepan along with the garlic, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the sugar, and add just enough water to over the carrots. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 15 minutes. Drain the carrots, place them in a medium bowl and chill for approximately one hour.
In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, cayenne pepper and cumin. Pour this mixture over the carrots and gently toss. Serve with a generous sprinkle of fresh parsley.