Is it an old wives tale, or do carrots really improve your eyesight?
Apparently they can help. They’re rich in beta-carotene, which is what makes them, as well as pumpkins and sweet potatoes, orange. Beta-carotene indicates the presence of Vitamin A, which is what’s going to help our vision. As well as helping to prevent cataracts and a condition called xerophthalmia (which stops your eyes from producing tears)1, if you don’t get enough Vitamin A into you, you can become blind.
On the other hand, if you eat too much beta-catotene, you can turn orange. It is a problem that’s easy to correct… eat fewer of those orange vegetables.
Here’s a great salad to increase your beta-carotene consumption. Just don’t eat it all by yourself, every day for a week.
Most of the ingredients.
The rest of the ingredients.
Grate all the carrots.
Whisk together the mustard, honey, vinegar and oil. Add some salt and pepper too.
Add the pecans and raisins to the grated carrots.
Add the dressing and serve: Grated Carrot Salad.
Grated Carrot Salad
Makes 4 servings
1 pound carrots, peeled and trimmed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup canola, grapeseed or other flavorless oil
Moist, plump currants or raisins, optional
Coarsely chopped walnuts, optional
Chopped parsley, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
The carrots need to be grated, a job you can do by hand using the large holes of a box grater, or by push-button using the grating blade of a food processor. Either way, if the grating has caused the carrots to weep, give them a quick press between your palms to rid them of excess liquid before you toss the pieces into a serving bowl.
If you’ve used a processor, keep it plugged in and make the dressing in it; if not, use a small jar. Put the mustard, honey, vinegar and oil in the processor or jar, season with salt and pepper, and whir or shake until blended – you’ll have a thick, smooth vinaigrette.
Toss the carrots with the currants, and nuts, if you’re using these ingredients, and then, just before serving, pour over the dressing, toss the salad well and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed. If you’re using the parsley, add it last.
Serving: Whether this is a solo starter, a part of a crudité plate or a side to a casual main, it’s best served at room temperature or just slightly chilled. And while I like the salad best right after it’s been dressed, when the carrots still have a teensy bit of crunch, the French fashion is for a softer salad, one that’s been left to macerate for bit. Either way, you’ll get the colour, flavour and piquancy.
Storing: While you can grate the carrots ahead and keep them covered and chilled, and you can certainly make the vinaigrette up to 3 days ahead, the dressed salad should be eaten within a few hours.