Go into just about any supermarket deli in the U.S. and among the salad choices you’ll always spot potato salad, coleslaw, and a pasta salad of some sort. France, too, has its usual suspects, and grated carrot salad (carottes râpées) is one you’ll see again and again alongside the beet salad, taboulé, and celery root salad.
While humble restaurants sometimes serve carottes rapées as a starter course on its own, I prefer it as part of a larger platter of salads. Or, side it with a sandwich—it’s an especially perky contrast with a rich egg salad sandwich. I’ve also been known to serve this salad on a platter with Céleri Rémoulade, Roasted Beet Salad, Oeufs Durs Mayonnaise, and a few little olives for a simple bistro-style starter—akin to what the French might call “assiette de crudités.”
Makes 4 servings
1/2 pound carrots
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or chives, or a combination
1. Peel the carrots and grate them into long, thin strips. You should have about 3 cups. Place carrots in a medium glass serving bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until combined. Pour over carrots; add the herb(s). Toss to coat. Taste, and add more lemon juice or olive oil (or, for that matter, sugar, mustard, salt or pepper) if you like.
3. Chill at least 30 minutes to blend flavors; toss again before serving.