This year I resolved to not only bring my lunch to work as close to every day as possible, but also to make lunches that extended beyond a sandwich and a piece of fruit. This resolution has opened up a world of midday meals that include cold cereal and milk with berries, ravioli soup with spinach that is constructed before popping in the microwave, coconut milk curries and what seems like endless salads. I certainly don’t mean endless as a pejorative, in fact my favourite lunches are carefully (or haphazardly) prepared combinations of vegetables, fruits, cheeses, seeds and nuts. This carrot and blueberry salad was engineered in several stages; first came the carrot and parsley, then the toasted almonds, then the blueberries and finally the mint – the za’atar dressing has always been non-negotiable. Although this combination of ingredients might sound cacophonic at first glance I can assure you that the combination of sweet, crunchy, astringent and citrusy flavours marry together to produce a melodious euphony of texture and taste. This salad will keep for about 24 hours before the mint starts to brown, of course this could be remedied by adding the mint as you eat (although I rarely find that this salad lasts longer than a supper and then lunch the following day.) The za’atar lends a crucial and intense earthiness to the dressing and somehow pulls the different ingredients together into a unified whole; za’atar can be found at any Middle Eastern grocery store or speciality spice shop.
carrot and blueberry salad with za’atar dressing:
1/2 pint of blueberries, washed and allowed to dry
5 medium-sized carrots, washed and shredded (I usually leave them unpeeled)
1 bunch of curly parsley
1/2 bunch of fresh mint
1/3 cup of slivered almonds, toasted
2 lemons, juiced (this makes the dressing very lemony, so act judiciously according to taste)
1 tsp. za’atar
2 Tbsp. grapeseed or mild olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
1. Combine the shredded carrots and blueberries in a large bowl. With a pair of sharp kitchen scissors snip the parsley and mint over the salad. Add the slivered almonds and the za’atar. Pour the lemon juice and oil over the salad and gently stir with a large fork to thoroughly combine. Eat immediately or within 24 hours.
I love Stereolab and I love Atlas Sound; this song hasn’t diminished in beauty for me since hearing it for the first time on the 401 in Ontario on a snowy night with my sister and my mom. I remember it was past midnight and the snow was like the blue ice you see in underwater photos of the Arctic. This song is gorgeous and it’s lush and it’s long, listen to it on your headphones loudly or quietly in your apartment while you cook – everything you do when you’re listening to this song becomes precious and real and ultimately good.
Atlas Sound – Quick Canal (featuring Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab)