Carota – Carrots in Italy # 1 – Carrot Mint Salad

March 17th, 2010 / Comments 0

When I was seven, I liked to eat carrots with vinegar. I would peel a carrot and dip it into a small glass of cider vinegar between each bite. When the carrot was gone, I drank the vinegar. I thought it was wonderful. My sister thought I was out of my mind.

ZPV carrots 01 c egbert Carota   Carrots in Italy # 1   Carrot Mint SaladMy interest in carrots may have been sparked by my desire to be able to read in the dark. I had learned from my mother that carrots were a rich source of carotene, also known as vitamin A, the vitamin that improves night vision. She was living in London, spending nights in the underground, during the Battle of Britain. One night, while waiting for the all-clear siren to sound, she was told that the common carrot would help the Allies win the war. This is the story that she often served with boiled carrots:  “In an attempt to mislead the Germans about their radar capabilities, the Royal Air Force circulated a story that British pilots were able to see in the dark because they ate enormous quantities of carrots. That is why many Britons, who anxious to improve their night vision because of the wartime blackouts, grew and ate so many carrots.”

I moved on from dipping carrots in vinegar to dipping carrots in hummus and blue cheese dressing and to using carrots in soups and stews. Carrots were a way to add a bit of taste and color but I didn’t consider them a vegetable with star power.

 Carota   Carrots in Italy # 1   Carrot Mint SaladBefore I came to Sicily, I thought of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, artichokes and mushrooms as Italian vegetables. Carrots were the wrong color for my red, white and green Italian palette. But, since my daily trips to the market, I have changed my mind. The carrots in the market are freshly pulled, sweet and crisp with attached greens that attest to their freshness. Carrots are no longer merely supporting players, edible utensils used to transport tasty bites from bowl to mouth. They shine as the primary ingredient in appetizers, soups and salads. I used carrots, honey and mint to make a salad that I served with baked salmon. Here’s how I did it:
Minted Carrot Salad

I mixed together equal parts of fresh lemon juice, orange juice and olive oil, about a tablespoon of each, and a teaspoon of honey in a serving bowl. I scrubbed a couple of carrots with a vegetable brush, cut them into thin slices and added them to the dressing along with the leaves from a couple of stems of mint cut into fine ribbons, a bit of lemon zest, salt and pepper.

I made this salad an hour before dinner so that the mint would infuse the dressing and the carrots would wilt a bit.

Mint Carrot Salad List

  • lemon
  • orange juice
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • carrots
  • fresh mint
  • salt and pepper,

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