Disclaimer: if you don’t like cilantro, you aren’t going to like this salad. It’s not nearly as good with parsley as a substitution.
Samin’s shaved carrot salad with ginger and lime is simple to make but full of flavor. It’s the kind of dish that is perfectly balanced; remove one component and it will be good, but not outstanding (I speak from experience, I’ve tried messing around with this salad).
Samin Nosrat’s mega-hit cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat was released just as I was getting ready to move, so I haven’t actually spent much time with it. So many people have raved about how revolutionary her ideas about layering salt into every dish are that I’ve been feeling very behind the “learning from cookbooks” curve.
I belong to several Facebook groups devoted to cooking recipes from a specific cookbook each month and one of them picked Salt Fat Acid Heat as this month’s cookbook selection. In my mind, that served as timely motivation to start cooking from Salt Fat Acid Heat. I’m off to a slow start, as it was weeks ago (a month ago?!), that this shaved carrot salad with ginger and lime was the popular vote from an Ideas Post. I twisted ME’s arm into letting me make it for her and I’ve since brought it in to work for a potluck (one of the “lesser” versions where I omitted ingredients because I didn’t have them).
As salads go, this one isn’t as easy as store-bought, but it’s also a lot less time-consuming than some of the composed salads with multiple subrecipes that I’ve been making recently. The vinaigrette is incredibly easy to make, and you just let that hang out while you prepare the carrot salad. I increased the amount of lime juice I added (using about 1/3-1/2 cup) and I decreased the amount of olive oil I added to 3 tablespoons instead of 5. I also opted to mince my garlic and leave it in the dressing.
The shaving of the carrots is definitely the most significant time investment, especially if you don’t have a mandoline; however, it is worth your time to get them as thin as possible. Note that 2 pounds of carrots is a lot of carrots and you can use half the amount for a similarly great salad (which is what I am showing in these pictures).
Two cups of cilantro is about one full bunch from a produce store, or a great handful from your garden. You’re going to want to use it all, even though it seems like a lot, because it helps to balance the heat from the jalapeno and the sweetness from the carrots and raisins.
“We” found Samin’s shaved carrot salad with ginger and lime to be very light and refreshing. The final result is much better than it might appear based on the ingredients list. There isn’t a single big flavor that dominates; you get a little sweet, a little tangy, a little citrus, the mouthfeel of the oil, a little heat, and fantastic crunch. I’d happily make this salad again (this time, the “right” way) and I’m certainly inspired to try more recipes from this cookbook (even if I am basically out of time for cooking along with the Facebook group).
Minuscule tweaks to the original in Salt Fat Acid Heat
Shaved Carrot Salad with Ginger and Lime
Total time includes a rest in the refrigerator to "marinate" the salad in the vinaigrette.
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice from about 2 small limes
- 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- Kosher salt
Shaved Carrot Salad
- 2/3 - 5/4 cup golden or black raisins*
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 pounds carrots
- 4 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic grated or pounded with a pinch of salt
- 1-2 large jalapenos seeds and stem removed, minced
- 2 cups (about 1 bunch) cilantro leaves and tender stems plus a few sprigs to garnish
- Kosher salt
Pour the lime juice and the olive oil into a small jar or bowl.
Smash the garlic clove**, rub a pinch of salt into it, then add it to the vinaigrette along with another pinch of salt.
Shake (if using a seal-able jar) or stir the vinaigrette to combine, then taste it on a small leaf of lettuce for flavor, adjusting the salt and acid as necessary.
Let the vinaigrette sit at least 10 minutes before using and remove the garlic clove before dressing the salad.
Shaved Carrot Salad
In a small bowl, submerge the raisins in boiling water and let them sit 15 minutes to rehydrate and become plump. Drain the raisins and set them aside.
Toast the cumin seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. After about 3 minutes of swirling the seeds in the pan to toast them evenly, they should begin to smell fragrant and a couple seeds should pop. Immediately remove the seeds from the heat and dump them into a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add a pinch of salt, then grind the seeds into a fine powder.
Trim then peel the carrots. Using a mandoline, sharp knife, or Y-shaped peeler, thinly slice the carrots lengthwise into ribbons. Cut the thin slices into matchsticks. If this is too much effort, simply slice the carrots into thin coins or grate them in a food processor.
In a large bowl, add the carrots, grated ginger, grated garlic, minced jalapeno, chopped cilantro, cumin power, and plumped raisins. Add 3 generous pinches of Kosher salt and toss to combine. Dress lightly with the shaken and rested lime vinaigrette, then toss again to combine. Taste the salad and adjust the seasoning as desired.
Refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle together. The salad will keep, fully dressed, about two days in the fridge and is even better the second day.
When ready to serve, toss to redistribute everything, then plate the salad on a large platter or in a bowl, garnished with a few sprigs of cilantro if desired.
*The original recipe calls for 1-1/4 cup of raisins, which I found to be too many raisins in the salad for my liking. I cut the amount by half and still though that might be too many raisins, so experiment here depending on your enjoyment of raisins. They do provide critical sweetness and balance, so don't leave them out.
**Alternately you could mince the garlic in the dressing and leave it in if serving the salad that day, which is what I did.