Who would ever of thought that the ubiquitous iconic orange root vegetable used in everything for salads to soup to stews to juices originally came shaded a purple. That is right, the carrot, in its wild variety was rife with the pigment anthocyanin. Not that this tint is so rare in nature: red potatoes, red grapes, plums, and strawberries all contain this coloring agent. In the carrot, however, the anthocyanin’s water-soluble nature left what must have been a rather unattractive blush to anything it was cooked with. We must thank the Dutch for the cultivar that now occupies all our impression of the carrot, and their selection of varieties with a greater concentration of the carotene pigment.
Over the past few years, I have been discovering more than the expected orange flesh tuber, and now I find myself buying red (my personal favorite), yellow, white and yes, purple carrots. Right now, as I find these tubers fresh, young and thin I never peel them – I would most likely be left with nothing. I simply use a new nylon scrubby to clean them. At this stage of their develop there are not at all woody, and are perfectly suited for any salad they find themselves in or chunked into a soup.
Thai Inspired Salad - yields 6 to 8 servings
2 large cucumbers - peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 teaspoons salt
2 medium-sized carrots - peeled and sliced thin julienne
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup mint - leaves only, chopped
1/2” piece ginger - peeled and sliced thin julienne
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
1/2-teaspoon white pepper
Scoop out the seed pulp of the cucumber, and slice into thin julienne. Toss the cucumber with the salt and place in a colander. Let sit for 30 minutes, and then wash under cold running water well to remove excess salt. Pat the cucumber dry. Place all in ingredients in a glass, porcelain or stainless bowl. Mix well to distribute all the elements. Then refrigerate for minimum of one hour. This salad will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.
2 medium carrots - peeled and cut into 4" long sticks
1/2 pound jicama Root - peeled and sliced into 4" long sticks
1 small onion - peeled and sliced thin
1 jalapeño pepper - pierced a few times with a knife
2 garlic cloves - skinned and kept whole
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cup white vinegar
2 limes – juiced (approx 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cup water
Place all ingredients snugly into a 2 quart sterilized jar. (I use a 1-liter jar with a rubber lined lid or line the top with plastic wrap). Pour over the vinegar, lime juice and water to cover the vegetables. Add additional vinegar, if needed to cover the vegetables.
Refrigerate for 3 days before you start eating them.