This is just another carrot salad NOT! It’s bursting with fresh acidity and punch with the unexpected caramel note of fresh dates and salty pistachio nuts.
4 medium carrots Finely grated zest 1 lemon 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp salt 6 fresh dates 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 hot green chilli, finely chopped, or to taste 12 toasted salted pistachio nuts ½ cup chopped coriander (cilantro) 2 Tbsp chopped mint ½ cup plain unsweetened yoghurt 1 tsp sumac
1 Peel and coarsely grate carrots. Put carrots in a bowl and toss with lemon zest, juice and salt. Cut dates in half and remove stones and slice flesh. Add to carrots. Mix in olive oil and chilli. Chill salad for 1 hour.
2 Shell pistachio nuts and cut into slivers. Stir coriander and mint through salad. Transfer salad to a serving bowl, spoon yoghurt on top and scatter with pistachio nuts. Dust with sumac and serve.
Green chilli gives such a contrast to the sweet caramel taste of dates and fresh clean sweep of lemon that I’m hesitant to say it is optional. For a milder version, remove the seeds before chopping and add just a little at a time until you get it right for your taste buds.
The salad will go with anything, summer, winter, all vege meal, barbecued meats, with leftovers stuffed into wraps or pita pockets …
Sumac, a coarse powder made from the ripe, reddish-brown berries of the sumac shrub, brings a refreshing note to many Middle Eastern dishes. The lemony taste and mild astringency works well with roasted or grilled chicken, meat or fish. It’s also good sprinkled over tomatoes drizzled with a little oil before baking, or stirred into yoghurt to accompany meat dishes. Store airtight out of the light.