Lunch parties. For years I have cherished this vision about the perfect lunch party at my house: our friends and loved ones would gather around a long farm table in the backyard. The carcass of our basketball hoop laying by the grass would magically disappear and a large vase of ranunculus would garnish the peach colored tablecloth. Adults will be nibbling on marinated olives and muhammara dip, while the kids would be playing knights with cheese straws or, even better, eating them. The food, and I, would be ready well in advance and I won't have my hair still soaking wet from the last minute shower.
Lunch would be casual and relaxed. Kids would be fed first and sent playing board games and puzzles on the shady deck, as we enjoy our lunch peacefully. (One can always dream!) Buzzing birds and laughter being our only background. I haven't gotten far enough in my fantasy to know what the menu would be like. Probably different kinds of quiche, my husband's favorite, certainly my famous apple tart and definitely a salad or two. I cannot conceive a menu without a salad. And the easiest course to think about, even when not daydreaming, is salad. The specimen you see on the picture is the salad I made last Saturday for a couple of friends. Though effortless in concept and ingredients, It was the highlight of the evening (the chicken wasn't bad either). All you do is cut the carrots diagonally, just to look fancy, and steam them until cooked but still firm. When ready, you heat some olive oil and add your parsley, garlic and the spice of choice for this salad: ground caraway. If you haven't tried the combination of carrots and ground caraway together, you owe it to yourself and to your carrots. Toss. Add the remaining olive oil, as the fruitiness of the olive oil changes when heated, and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice, a must, and you have a match made in heaven.
The dreamy lunch may not be in my near future, but as long as there are carrots and this salad on my menu one can always hope.
Caraway spiced carrot salad
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut diagonally
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp freshly ground caraway seeds
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Steam the carrots until tender but still retain their shape.
When the carrots are cooked, carefully remove the steaming basket and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a small sauté pan. Add the garlic, ground caraway and parsley. Cook for one minutes stirring constantly until fragrant. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the hot carrots to the herb mixture and toss. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and lemon juice and toss again. Transfer to a plate and leave to infuse for at least an hour. Enjoy the salad at room temperature.