It is perhaps no secret around here that I love the recipes of one Ms. Smitten Kitchen. If you have never been to her site, I implore you to leave this meager blog RIGHT NOW and immediately go make some of her recipes instead. Then you can come back and hang out with me while I express my adoration of her. Then we can jump up and down together in glee at the fact that she’s writing a cookbook, and maybe we can also join forces to lobby heavily in favor of a D.C. stop on her book tour. She has never led me wrong, and this salad is an apt demonstration of the extent to which she can lead you right.

I am smitten.

I don’t know that I ever really tasted carrots before I made this salad. I guess I saw them as nondescript crudites, valuable only as crunch or a vehicle for tzatziki sauce. But now I know that they are deliriously sweet and fresh-tasting, even when they’ve been languishing in the crisper for months, and that they perk up dramatically with salt, lemon, and spice. Smitten Kitchen describes this salad as “fascinating,” and she’s absolutely right. The only real change I made was to add cooked shrimp, which take on some of the salad’s fascinating flavors and help make this a more substantial meal. But with or without the shrimp, you should make this salad immediately. After spending several hours browsing Smitten Kitchen, of course.

Carrot salad with shrimp, harissa, and feta
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and coarsely grated (a food processor makes short work of this)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 crushed clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds or about half as much, ground
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or about half as much, ground
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon harissa (amount depends on the spiciness of your harissa)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
100 grams feta, crumbled or chopped into bits
1 pound medium shrimp

Heat oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the garlic, caraway, cumin, paprika, harissa and sugar in the oil until fragrant, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat, pour over the carrots, and stir in along with lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add herbs and mix.

Return pan to medium heat and add a bit more olive oil. Cook shrimp until pink and cooked through. Add shrimp to carrot salad and refrigerate for an hour to allow flavors to blend. Add feta before serving.

Serves 2-3.