An Oldie, but Goodie
Bon Appetite’s website features a number of dishes they label “the best recipe of all times.” Now that’s quite a claim. One of them caught my eye: Carrottees Râpées, a simple, but snappy French carrot salad. But despite the hoity-toity sounding name, it translates simply as “grated carrots.”
Quick, Easy, Tasty, Healthy—What More Could You Ask for?
The dish shows up all over France: in kiosks, supermarkets, bistros, in home kitchens, and at picnics. The pantry friendly recipe includes raw carrots, lightly dressed in an oil/lemon/honey mixture and seasoned with a bit of cumin and parsley.
Even so, I pondered its inclusion in Bon Appetit’s collection of “all time” favorites. Had their kitchen gurus never tasted a fresh peach cobbler?
As I explored the ingredients, I found an air of familiarity about the recipe. My mother made a carrot salad much like this. Hers got mayo instead of oil and a few raisins.
That was in the sixties. Then along came Watergate in the seventies and with it a new entry to the dinner menu: Watergate Salad. (Hmm . . . do you suppose there’ll be an “Indictment Salad” to denote current events?)
Take Your Pick
I googled the ingredients, that I remembered my mother using and up popped a dish called Grandma’s Carrot Salad. Unlike the French-ified carrots, it had mayo and raisins just like the dish from my childhood. (I later found that some versions of the French recipe used Mama’s ingredients, too.)
The French Version and Mama’s Version
Here are two two of the many recipes: the French version and my mother’s. Chef/food writer David Lebovitz says that it you “ask 60 million Frenchmen for the recipe, you’ll get 60 million recipes.”I included some additions I’ve made for a 21st century update.
Salade de Carottes Râpées (Grated Carrot Salad)
- 7 large, sweet carrots, peeled
- 1/2 bunch of large, flat-leaf parsley (Italian works better than curly), rinsed and dried (optional ingredient)
- Juice of 2 lemon
- 2-3 Tbs. olive oil (or less)
- 2 tsp. sugar or light honey (to taste)
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Grate the carrots as finely as possible and place in a medium-sized bowl. Coarsely chop the parsley and toss it in with the carrots.
2. Make the dressing by whisking together lemon juice, olive oil, sugar and salt and pepper until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Drizzle it over the carrot/parsley mixture and toss to coat. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed (You may want to add more lemon juice, salt or pepper).
Grandma’s Carrot Salad
This is the recipe I use today. It’s most nearly what I remember my mother making. But sometimes I lessen the raisins and add fresh pineapple or some grated Granny apple. For more crunch, I toss in a few chopped pecans. This is such a whimsical recipe, fun to experiment with and easy to tailor to your taste.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- Pinch fine sea salt
- Pinch ground black pepper
- 4 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup raisins (I like the looks of the golden ones.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Add the carrots and raisins. Stir to mix until the carrots are evenly coated.