Spiced Carrot Fennel Tangle

By • February 27, 2011 • 18 Comments

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Author Notes: While sitting by the pool this afternoon, I dozed off while conjuring up carrot recipes. Sometime during that nap, the carrots met up with fennel, cumin, coriander, and mustard seed creating this delicious and refreshing salad. - melissavmelissav

Food52 Review: When I read this recipe, I immediately thought it had an Indian flavor profile. Not so fast, when I tasted it the brightness of the sherry vinegar, preserved lemon, cumin, and cilantro made me think more of the beaches of Mexico. The crunch is terrific, the sweetness of the carrots with the tartness of the dressing are great. Shaved into ribbons, it is really pretty, and couldn't be easier to make. I had preserved lemons, but if you didn't lemon zest would be fine substitution. I added freshly ground pepper to the seasonings. This is a pretty, bright, light, and I feel healthier just eating it!Burnt Offerings

Serves 4 as a small side or 2 for a lunch

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon preserved lemon (about 1/4-1/2 lemon), pulp discarded, minced
  • 3 carrots, washed and peeled
  • 1/2 fennel bulb
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • kosher salt
  • 1 small handful cilantro leaves
  • 1 small handful fennel fronds
  1. Heat the olive oil in small saute pan over medium low heat. Add the cumin, coriander, and mustard seed and heat until the seeds begin to pop. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, add the preserved lemon and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the carrot and fennel. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots into long tangles. Place into a bowl. Slice the fennel on a mandoline as thinly as possible. Add to the bowl.
  3. Finish the dressing by whisking the sherry vinegar into the pan with the oil and seeds and seasoning with salt.
  4. Toss the dressing with the carrots and fennel, staring with 3/4 of the dressing and adding the rest as necessary. How much you need will really depend on the size of your carrots and fennel. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.
  5. You can either toss in the cilantro leaves and fennel fronds and serve or plate individually and top each portion with the cilantro leaves and fennel fronds.

Tags: carrot, coriander, cumin, Fennel, mustard seeds, preserves

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Comments (18) Questions (0)


over 2 years ago purplette

Made this tonight for Christmas dinner. So good and easy to make. My family loved it. Having the seeds in the salad after toasting really makes a difference. Couldn't find preserved lemon for tonight (have loved it in Persian dishes I've had), but lemon juice seemed to work out alright instead. Want to try serving this a an hors d'oeuvres in a lettuce or endive leaf. Thanks for the recipe, Melissav!


about 4 years ago Burnt Offerings

Can't wait to make this for Editor's Picks! After fondue and pudding - it will be a nice change to make something light and healthy, and I love the flavor profile in this!


about 4 years ago melissav

Thanks for offering to test this. I hope you like it. It is super easy and quick.


about 4 years ago Burnt Offerings

This was terrific Mellisav! Did you see the clip of Amanda making shaved salads on The Today Show this AM? Your salad would have been perfect to highlight! I added some freshly ground pepper - it really added a nice bite. This would make a knock out cole slaw if you grated the carrot and fennel, added chopped nappa cabbage and mixed the dressing with some yogurt. But it was very pretty, and very tasty as it was. Thanks!


about 4 years ago melissav

So happy you liked it. I haven't seen the clip yet but I am about to watch it. I like the cole slaw idea. Definitely trying that at our next BBQ. Thanks for the feedback!


about 4 years ago lorinarlock

This looks delicious and since I have a few more carrots and a fennel bulb in my fridge this is definitely on tonight's menu. Seems like it would be a great salad for taking to work for lunch too.


about 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

LOVE the flavors - toasting the spices is magical isn't it? I have a poolside baby shower in April and neice has requested salads and kabobs (and cupcakes) I think this will be one of them! And yeah, I dream food too ... we are all obsessed!!!!


over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Love this! Glad I'm not the only one who dreams about food!


about 4 years ago melissav

My husband thinks I am a nutjob since I am always dreaming of food. When I woke up from the nap and told him that I just dreamed up this salad, I got a strange look. :-) But, hey, he gets to enjoy the fruits of my slumber!


over 4 years ago Sagegreen

Very elegant!


about 4 years ago melissav

Thanks Sagegreen. I hope you try it.


about 4 years ago Sagegreen

I made this with everything except the preserved lemon, subbing fresh Meyer, and loved it!


over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This sounds wonderful! So refreshing!


about 4 years ago melissav

Thanks Suzanne. It was a cinch to throw together as well.


over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

did you say POOL? in FEBRUARY? color me jealous. (nice recipe, btw. i dream about food, too.)


about 4 years ago melissav

We had one of those perfect Floriday weekends, blue skys, sunny, nice breeze. I will have to try and remember this one once the temperature and humidity skyrocket in few months.


over 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This sound delightful! Nice nap time work!


about 4 years ago melissav