Spring Has Sprung. Let's bring in the outdoors and enjoy a fresh Spring salad together. All of the bright colors in this salad and the fresh tastes will make you feel like Spring!
Carrot and raisin salad — with a unique twist
3 green onions, sliced thin at an angle
1/4 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/8 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 avocado, diced
Lettuce of choice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper ( I always use Kosher salt and Fresh Ground Pepper )
Add a pinch of sugar if you feel it needs a tad of sweetness. I found it perfect without the sugar. You can be the judge.
You can use red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce or a mix of your favorite lettuce blends. A small closed fist handful of fresh picked Rosemary flowers ( blue small buds on a Rosemary bush, very powerful so not too many are needed. They add an incredible additional flavor and a brilliant touch of blue).
Take the peeled carrots and keep peeling them into a large bowl. Hold the carrot on the small end and peel them on the thick end mainly. You will just peel them until the entire carrot is all the same diameter. You have basically thinned out the thick end to be the same size as the small end. Save all of these peeled slices. Now you want to slice the remainder carrots into carrot coins. Now we have a nice variety of coins and carrot peels. If the carrot peels look too long you can cut them in half for a more appetizing size.
Now into this bowl you are going to add the green onions, craisins, golden raisins and all the nuts and toss to integrate.
If your raisins are semi crystallized, put them into a wire colander and rinse with hot water, shake the colander, then pour out on a paper towel for a bit, pat them dry and then add them after they are nice and plump.
In another small bowl add the lime juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper .
Whisk these and keep whisking while you add the olive oil in a nice steady stream to get a wonderful vinaigrette! Taste and if needed add the sugar and whisk again to incorporate.
Now add this vinaigrette to the large bowl with the mixture of carrot coin and peels, raisins, nuts, etc.
If you’re not eating your salad right away you may want to refrigerate this and bring it out a few minutes before serving your salad, whisk it again and then add it to the lettuce Mixture right before serving.
Have your lettuce in a large bowl, sprinkle it with some salt right before serving, toss this a bit and now add the carrot mix to the lettuce bowl and toss these two mixtures lightly for an even coating.
Now add the avocado. If you are putting the bowl out for guests to help themselves, add the diced avocado now and toss again and serve.
If you are serving the salad on individual plates add nice slices of avocado in a pretty fan displayon the top of the plated salad for a nice visual addition to their plated colorful salad.
Here's to the start of Spring and fun — Adding sunshine and fresh food around family and friends.
Shelly Guantone was raised in the Oakland Hills and lives in Lodi with her husband, Nick Guantone. They have three children and three grandchildren. She and her husband own and operate Guantonio’s Mobile Wood Fired Oven. In her free time, she enjoys cooking with her grandbabies, gardening and caligraphy.