Carrots can be obtained at any time of the year, but for a few months of the year (around early July to August) we start to see the new season carrots make an appearance.

For these few, short, precious months in the summer, sweet, tender and aromatic new season carrots are in the shops. There is so much flavour packed into them that they need only to be steamed or gently boiled for a couple of minutes, to get the best out of them. Their delicate flavour can be complimented with a little butter and orange zest, or tarragon and thyme or something a little bit more pungent.

New season carrots not only marry well with simple, delicate flavours. They also have the ability to pair with much stronger flavours, without fading into the background, including turmeric, chilli, coriander, cumin and ginger to name a few.

Oh and they are also delicious simply eaten raw!

Their capability to pair well with almost anything, makes new season carrots a fantastic choice for a whole variety of dishes. But seeing as it’s summer time and I wanted to make something light and vibrant and most important of all, tasty. I thought a warm spiced carrot salad was the perfect balance of all these things.

Easy to prepare and plate up you could have this salad prepared and served in a little under 10 minutes. The carrots are lightly blanched for a minute, tossed with some rapeseed oil and spices, then toasted gently in a frying pan. Topped with sliced spring onion, chilli and freshly picked coriander, your first bite will explode with earthy subtle spices, a touch of sweetness from the carrots, then beautifully rounded off by a cooling yoghurt dressing.

ENOUGH TALK! Let’s make this Warm Spiced Carrot Salad immediately!

— Al Brady


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INGREDIENTS

For the yoghurt dressing:
250g plain yoghurt
1 lime, juiced
30ml olive oil
salt & pepper

For the salad:
450g carrots,
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground tumeric
1tbsp sea salt
2 red chillies, sliced
8 spring onions, finely sliced
25g coriander, picked & washed
50g watercress, picked & washed
50ml olive oil


METHOD

Give the carrots a scrub under cold water to clean them. You can peel them if you like, but our new season carrots have tons of flavour packed into the skin so we just scrub them. Once the carrots are clean, cut them into even size pieces and put to one side.

Bring a large pot of salted water up to the boil. Add the carrots to the water and cook for 2 – 6 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like them. We like them with a lot of bite for this salad so we only cook the carrots for 2 minutes maximum. Once the carrots are cooked to your liking remove from the boiling water and place into a bowl & keep warm.

Sprinkle over the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sea salt over the carrots, then drizzle over the olive oil and mix well together. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat and add the carrots. Fry the spiced carrots one a high heat for 5 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. Once cooked remove from the pan and keep warm.

Mix all the ingredients for the yoghurt dressing together, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Spoon the yoghurt dressing on to the serving plate and top with the warm spiced carrots. Sprikle over the sliced spring onions, chillies and finish with the coriander and watercress.


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Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Carrots! Yuck! Can I change it to something else?
Of course you can you can mix this up to incorporate some of your favourite veggies into a healthy exciting salad. Of course the cooking times may vary slightly depending on what you choose but you can play around with this to suit your taste. Try using sweet potato, butternut squash, pumpkin, beetroot, artichokes, salisfy, aubergine, and the list goes on.

I’m not a massive fan of chilli, any suggestions?
Don’t fret, if you don’t want the spicy element of this dish, then you don’t have to suffer it. Remove the chill and add a little of what you like. Some finely shredded ginger, maybe some toasted almonds or hazelnuts for an added crunch! Same goes for the herbs, mix them around; Thai basil, tarragon, chives, mustard cress. It is really about what you think is delicious.

What about the spi…
Yes. Change the spices too, if you must! Whatever you like, at this point you clearly don’t want to make this salad anyway!


Still not convince that this Warm Spiced Carrot Salad is worth the 10 minutes you’ll need to make it? Well, I do have one more thing to tell you!

When it comes to the spices, they are not only making your salad more delicious, they could potentially be doing a whole lot more!

Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The effects of curcumin have been studied for their ability to prevent disease and slow the aging process. Adding turmeric powder to your meals could help to reduce inflammation in the body, boost brain power, and support liver function.

Coriander is said to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL), and it is claimed that cumin is very good for your digestive system.

Now even though I have not been undertaking any studies of my own into the possible health benefits of these spices. I do strongly believe that taking 10 minutes to make a salad, that could possibly slow down ageing and boost your brain to that of a genius*, is time worth taking.

*There is absolutely no proof this could happen. Ever!