When the temperature hit 90 degrees here in DC last week, it was clear that time for spring planting was upon us. Mercifully, this week has brought some slightly cooler weather, but it seems that the time of hard frost has passed, and I am itching for some home-grown arugula. With lots of “help” from my two-year-old, I began pulling up the weeds from our two raised-bed gardens and in addition to foot-deep dandelion roots, we unearthed-surprise!-some carrots. Ah yes, I do seem to remember planting those at some point last year.
Some of the carrots were clearly past their prime, but a handful were still surprisingly orange and crunchy. I knew that these semi-miraculous winter survivors deserved some special treatment, so I decided to make a carrot-cashew salad that I had enjoyed at book club a few weeks before. I even went so far as to (gasp) purchase some ingredients specifically for the recipe. Served over curried chickpeas and rice, this little salad was the perfect inauguration to a summer of homegrown produce.
Shredded Carrot and Cashew Nut Salad
Adapted from The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi
Note: I stuck with the proportions listed in the recipe because I only had a few carrots, but I would recommend tripling the recipe, as you will want lots of this delicious food.
1 c. shredded carrots, patted dry
1/3 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
1/3 c. chopped cashews
1/2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 T vegetable oil
1 t mustard seeds
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
Toast cashews in a dry pan until light brown and aromatic. Combine red peppers, cashews, carrots and salt in a bowl. In a small sauce pan, heat oil until water beads off the top. Add mustard seeds and let cook until they pop and turn gray. (I recommend putting a lid on them to avoid getting pelted with sizzling mustard bbs.) Add mustard seeds and oil to salad; mix well. Top with cilantro.