Salad a la Bittman: No. 14

Bittman No. 14


I’ve always been someone who enjoys a great salad, so it should be no surprise that I’ve become quite comfortable working my way through Mark Bittman’s 101 Simple Salads for the Season.  The 12-page print out is showing signs of wear with jottings of ingredients I’ve added, dates I prepared each that I’ve made, and stars to denote the direction I may next take.  Oh, the possibilities.  Of course, that would depend on the condition of the veggies I purchased when my eyes were bigger than my ability to follow through in an organized manner.

Let’s face it —  mushrooms only last so long if one doesn’t push the idea that they prefer the open air to being wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Or consider the Jerusalem artichokes that met an untimely demise because I  didn’t have one of the ingredients I needed to make Salad No. 5.  And then there was the jicama that had seen better days long before I cut into it, surprised that it’s possible to find jicama in San Diego in that condition.  Perhaps salad No. 9 wasn’t meant to be on that particular day.

Honestly, I’ve grown to enjoy “The List” as it promises so much as long as I’m prepared, and goodness knows when it comes to food, I’m usually prepared.  The salads are so easily made and adapted that reviewing a section prepares you for the shopping and if the ingredients are remotely connected to what Bittman suggests, then I say fair game and a salad is born.

This past Sunday, I enjoyed salads No. 14 and 26 respectively; one for lunch and the other shared for dinner with grilled beef.  Each was so different, yet delicious, and that is what has kept me interested.   You just never know when you may find the opportunity to pair fennel and prune plums again in your lifetime, right?

Bear with me as I continue this exploration of textures and flavors — baked goodies will always be on the horizon.

Bittman Salad No. 14: “A Classic Moroccan Thing”

Carrots, sliced or grated

Cumin seeds, toasted

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fresh Lemon Juice



Pine nuts, toasted

Maldon Salt

Piloncillo (or brown sugar)

Bittman No. 14

Slice thinly, or grate the carrots.  Add the rest of the ingredients and toss lightly.  Using a mold such as a galvanized cylinder or recycled food can with both ends removed, gently press the salad ingredients into the “stack” and then remove the mold.  It’s a nice presentation for an interesting salad full of diverse textures and flavors.  Make sure you taste the mixture before you place it in the mold.

Bittman No. 14

Recipe Notes:

  • I’d like to try this with grated carrots.  My Cuisinart slice the baby carrots I rescued from my veg bin a bit too thick.  With grated carrots, there would be less to chew, but there are assets to chewing if that’s all that’s on your plate.  Diet?
  • On the raisins:  I get it.  Some people just don’t love what they add to a dish.  I’m there when it comes to most savory dishes, but I grew up eating my mother’s Carrot Raisin salad and have to say the combo is wonderful.  This is a completely different (and more healthy) spin, but so worth trying.  Both raisins and carrots are sweet….go ahead.  Try it.
  • The cumin seeds are an acquired taste for some and a little goes a long way.  If you’re not sure, then use ground  cumin mixing it into the olive oil before mixing it into the rest of the ingredients.
  • Piloncillo is a type of brown sugar found in Mexico or areas of the US situated near Mexico.  It usually comes in cone form and is extremely hard so needs to be grated.  If you’d like a sweet flavor added to this salad, use muscavado or brown sugar, but go lightly.
  • I know that others may not appreciate cilantro.  Try basil or even spinach.  Either would work.  It’s about finding a balance for yourself.  Think of all that green.
  • I had to add the pine nuts for the texture and flavor.  Maybe it was the cilantro — who knows, but the combination was satisfying. I love pine nuts.
  • On the Maldon salt — do a taste test and you’ll know.  I use it on special dishes when I want to enjoy the effect the salt has on the food.  Go ahead.  Call me a food snob.
  • A perfectly stacked fork makes all the difference in the world.
  • Okay, so there IS my next Daring Bakers challenge coming up in a day or so….just think:  all those carbs.  Yes.

Bittman No. 14

22 thoughts on “Salad a la Bittman: No. 14

  1. It’s really gorgeous piled high like this.I make an Italian room temp salad that you par cook the carrots..(Still crunchy but not hard) I wonder if that could work? I’ll try this..too good-looking to pass up.

    1. If I’d used my mandoline instead of the Cuininart the slices would have been perfect, but parboiling would be great. Definitely an interesting salad.

  2. I need that book now, just the name of the ingredients of the salads are making my mouth water. And the Moroccan salad looks delicious. Beautiful pictures 😀

    1. Hey Ben! Hope you’ve been well — it’s not a book. I linked in a couple of other posts, but if you go to the NYTimes and search, it will come right up. All the combos are listed in the Bittman piece. So far, I’ve only had one I haven’t liked.

  3. Gorgeous! I love grated carrots simply with lemon juice, olive oil and salt, so this would be even better since I love the rest of the ingredients.

    I wonder if currants or zante grapes would be better than raisins since they are smaller so they feel more “modest”, less intrusive in their sweetness?

    The DB challenge! I have to get my acts together if I want to be able to do it. This week is a bad week!

    1. If I’d had dried cranberries, I’d have thrown them in instead of the raisins because that would have been a new combo for me. I think the sweetness would be the same, but the tartness would have been appealing to me. Not so sure about the cumin cranberry combo, though. I should try it. Getting ready to start on my DB write up…. ; /

  4. wait, is it really called a classic moroccan THING? that cracks me up for some reason. i enjoy the tower-approach, too–i’d really enjoy knocking it down. 🙂

    1. Oh man I owe you a visit. At least you know when I show up at your doorstep, I stay for a while, right? Yes, Bittman actually called it a “thing.” I had to write that because it was hilarious.

  5. That salad not only sounds wonderful but looks mouthwatering as well. Not something I usually think when it comes to a salad:)

    1. You and me both. I should make my mother’s carrot raisin salad for a comparison. I haven’t had it in years and I’d love some about now!

  6. Wonderful picture, I have recently seen a similar recipe in a store magazine and they also added mint & dried apricot to the mix of ingredients, which also sounds equally good.

    1. Mmm.. on the dried apricot and sure, I can see the mint with this, too. The apricots would lend a great texture and the tartness would be nice.

  7. This one is really pretty and I love all of the ingredients but would never have though of putting them together on the same plate!!!

    1. You and me both. I swear, I go through the list and choose the one that most closely aligns with what I have in the bin. This one surprised me. ; )

  8. Yum. I’ll go for this one exactly as you made it. Cilantro, raisins, carrots, cumin seeds – sounds divine. I’ve been making a few of these as well- got to give this one a try.

  9. Just beautiful! I was so excited to see you posted another salad from the list. By the way, saw your “challenge” pics on the forum and they look AMAZING! I’ll check back tomorrow for a closer look. 🙂

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