I like to make an effort to eat as seasonally as possible. Simply put that will mean eating what's grown as closest to me as possible and in the season it was grown. That can be limiting in the winter, but I also find it a valuable challenge. An appreciation of root vegetables is something that takes some commitment, but can be done. That being said there are times when I simply cannot resist some things I'll never be able to find a local source of. Citrus fruits, for example, I cannot and will not live without. Avocados are in that list as well. And while they are certainly not local to me, they are not grown too far from me down in California. I gorge on citrus in December to February when they are the seasonal fruit, and treat myself to a couple avocados a month. So, let me tell you a secret, nothing livens up a salad in the winter like an avocado. Its clean creamy texture and gentle unique flavour makes any plate of crisp greens or shaved vegetables all of a sudden something special. The fact that they are the perfect companion to so many other vegetables and fruits makes them an extremely versatile fruit to have in the house.
I make a lot of grated carrot salads in the winter as one always has carrots, lemon juice and olive oil. Here is a salad I whipped up the other night with a very few vegetables I had left in my fridge, including a lonely looking avocado. It was delightfully fresh and rich at the same time and I felt good about using the local carrots.
Grated Carrot and Avocado Salad
6 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 small onion or 1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp minced fresh dill
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp zahtar
1 avocado, diced
Stir together the juice, olive oil, mustard and spices. Toss in carrots, dill, garlic and onions. Taste and adjust salt and pepper and acidity. Add more lemon juice or olive oil if necessary. This is a salad to trust your taste buds with. Toss in avocado. Serve. Will keep very well for up to 3 days, although avocado might start to brown.
Some notes on this recipe:
Zahtar is a middle eastern spice blend that is perfect with carrots. Other spices you could use would be cumin and coriander or chile powder. It can also be left out, but the zahtar really shines here.