Saturday, March 22, 2014

Yitzi's Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

My mother was way ahead of her time when it came to certain things.  She was probably the first mother in our community to put grilled tofu on the table years before tofu became readily available in every supermarket.  She was a big believer in exposing us to new and interesting foods that most people didn't even know existed.  My siblings and I were served - besides all kinds of tofu-related foods - fiddleheads, okra (not a big fan), spaghetti squash, weird cheeses and foreign spices.  She was also a big believer in teaching all her children to bake, cook and be proficient in the kitchen.  Boys included.  So, it's no great surprise that all three of my brothers happen to be great cooks.  

Whereas they all have their own specialties, I have the privilege of tasting only one of my brother's culinary creations since he lives in Jerusalem and often comes to us for Shabbat.  He makes incredible homemade ice cream in unusual flavors (pear and ginger...), quirky cookies (chocolate chip and chili pepper), and funky chicken (tequila chicken).  He's fearless when it comes to experimenting and 95% of his experiments pay off big-time.  This weekend he made me a salad that was so flavorful and satisfying that I was sorry to finish it off.  Although I have two eaters in my house who have a strong aversion to fresh coriander, they absolutely loved this salad.

And while I have more than my fair share of kitchen gadgets and spices, I now have to purchase fresh coriander seeds and a mortar and pestle...

Yitzi's Morrocan Carrot and Chickpea Salad (serves 8)

1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground using mortar and pestle
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

5-6 carrots, sliced whisper thin on a mandolin
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15- ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2 cups of purple cabbage finely chopped
2/3 cup craisins
1/3 cup fresh coriander finely chopped

lots of toasted almond slices

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously.  
Combine all salad ingredients except toasted almonds in a large bowl.  Toss gently with dressing and add almonds before serving.