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Moroccan-Spiced Carrot and Black Grape Salad
Yield: 8 servings
For the Dressing:
About ½ cup best-quality extra virgin olive oil
About ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
2 ½ teaspoons ground cumin, preferably freshly toasted and ground
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds sweet-tasting carrots, preferably organic and/or locally grown, scraped
1 cup Concord or other dark, richly flavored grapes, halved or quartered and seeded
1/3 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted (optional)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional garnish)
Prepare the dressing: in a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, mint (crumble it, using your fingers), cinnamon, coriander, and salt, pepper, and cayenne, if using, to taste.
Grate carrots coarsely in food processor or over largest holes of box grater. Cook them in lightly salted boiling water until just tender but still crisp. Drain them (the liquid would be a nice addition to vegetable stock), and while still warm, toss them with the dressing. Add grapes and walnuts, if using, and toss again. For best taste, let the flavors marry for at least a couple of hours.
Taste and adjust oil, lemon juice, or seasoning, if needed. Sprinkle with cilantro just before serving, if desired.