Some dishes depend on one special ingredient, the absence of which gives you something rather ordinary, the inclusion of which creates something extraordinary. This is one of those dishes. This carrot salad comes from the Middle East, and depends on the addition of orange flower water, which like rose water, is often used in Middle Eastern cooking. Orange flower water is distilled from bitter orange blossoms and is used to flavor drinks, salads, and desserts. Local chef Evie Lieb made this salad in our cooking class this week and I don’t think I’ve ever tasted carrot salad so exotically delicious. You can get orange blossom or orange flower water at a Mediterranean market. Whole Foods also carries it.
- 1 lb carrots (with small cores) peeled and coarsely grated
- 1/2 cup golden or crimson raisins
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp freshly juiced lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp orange flower water
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or more to taste
- Salt and pepper, lightly sprinkled to taste
- Chopped fresh mint for garnish
Combine all the ingredients except mint. Chill in refrigerator several hours or overnight. Serve garnished with slivers of mint leaves.