Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint

In sorting the recipes I had on the cloud, this carrot salad sounded like the perfect accompaniment to steak tartare on a very hot evening.  Added bonus: our friend Jamila gave us a jar of harissa she made from a family recipe. It’s great, a little chunky, nice and spicy! This feeds 4 as a side dish, is quick to make but needs some marinating time for the flavors to really develop.

Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint

  • 3/4 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and coarsely grated
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 crushed clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds or about half as much, ground
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or about half as much, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon harissa (to taste and depending on the heat of your harissa)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 100 grams feta, crumbled or chopped into bits

In a small sauté pan, cook the garlic, caraway, cumin, paprika, harissa and sugar in the oil until fragrant, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Pour over the carrots and mix. Add the herbs and mix. Leave to infuse for an hour and add the feta before eating. With a fork.

Notes:

You can grate the carrots on a hand-grater on the big holes. It’s slow and carrot bits will be all over the kitchen. I pulled out the food processor with the grater blade and was done in less than a minute, however, cleaning it…The original recipe called for caraway seeds (and cumin seeds) to be ground. I didn’t think I had any caraway seeds so I used ground coriander instead.  If you don’t have friends making harissa for you, this is the Locavore’s recent favorite (and not because it comes from Provence): Domaine de Provence Harissa Paste. It’s expensive for a condiment, but worth it!

My Verdict:

I’ve always preferred raw carrots to cooked ones, so this along with the harissa kick was a hit in my book! I added a little more cumin and harissa than the recipe calls for and since we didn’t have any parsley, tossed in a little more mint. Frank really liked it, once he got over the initial surprise of seeing a plate with carrot salad on it. I’ll definitely make this again.

Quick update: I made this again, this time trying for more of an Asian inspiration. I used Sriracha instead of the harissa, juice of a lime, about 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar and added some chopped cilantro along with the mint, no cheese. It was good, very spicy, so next time I’ll taste before madly squirting in the sriracha.

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