Thursday, April 17, 2014

Classic Carrot Raisin Salad

A classic, cold salad made from carrots, raisins and pineapple, sometimes coconut and peanuts, and dressed with a sweetened mayonnaise.

Classic Carrot Raisin Salad

We are still in the process of moving out of our old home, while the new house is looking more and more like we have lived here for 20 years! And the garage, oh you don't even want to know what that looks like, but as I have the energy, I bring in a box and go through it.

We are moving all of the Christmas stuff, the china from the china cabinet and have a freezer and a few pieces of furniture to go and we'll be finished... finally. The Cajun and I were so tired and hungry yesterday afternoon that we stopped by Hartz's Fried Chicken and treated ourselves to their buffet for an early supper.

Image: UrbanSpoon
It's pretty much a little hole in the wall, local joint, that has been around forever and has really good fried chicken. Located just over the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge in Ocean Springs, right on Highway 90, when we are in the mood for fried chicken without the homemade mess, it's our favorite place for to go chicken, right along with Popeye's, of course. They do lots of drive through business of course, but the buffet is pretty popular too, and a great deal at just over $9.00 - all you can eat and drink - and far as I can tell, the food is all prepared homemade.

The outside shot above is from Urbanspoon. I would have taken photos myself, but frankly I left my cell phone and my purse at home, which I know is a foreign concept to some. I guess I'm old school, because I literally do not like having a cell phone tethered to me all the time and I just don't get that modern obsession. It's a bit freeing to just leave it at home occasionally!

Hartz has all of the classic garden salad ingredients - including beets, which I love - and all kinds of other favorite salads of the South. You'll find potato salad, coleslaw, creamy pea salad and carrot salad, along with plenty of veggies and other sides, like buttered corn, stewed green beans, turnip greens, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese and chicken and dumplings.

Oh yeah, and, of course, their fabulous fried chicken, including the largest breast pieces you will ever see, catfish, fried gizzards and livers, along with baked chicken and their homemade yeast rolls, which are divine. For dessert there's soft serve ice cream and usually peach cobber and bread pudding. There is more on the buffet than I can remember and it was all so good, just thinking about it makes me hungry all over!

I am a vegetable lover, so I always fill my plate with the veggies and sides and have one piece of chicken and a few livers. I love the carrot salad and had to have two servings of it, which also reminded me that I hadn't posted my recipe yet. This is the perfect time of the year for carrot salad really, and with Easter around the corner, an excellent addition to the table.

Everybody makes it pretty much the same - carrots, raisins, pineapple and a sweet mayo dressing, but I also like the addition of salted cocktail peanuts and sometimes, a little shredded, sweetened coconut for that salty, sweet flavor. The peanuts soften, but still retain a nice crunch, though you may also wait to add them just before you're ready to serve the salad if you want them to be crisp. Both are completely optional however and the salad is good even without them, though if you omit the peanuts, include a pinch of salt.

I use my Ninja system with the food processor pot to make an easy task out of shredding the carrots. Sure do love this thing!

To a covered bowl, add the carrots, raisins and pineapple; toss. I've used both tidbits and crushed and they are both good. Today I only had crushed in the pantry.

Whisk together the mayonnaise and sugar, add to the salad and toss. If you're a fan of Miracle Whip, this is a perfect salad to use it. I don't have any objection to sweet mayo (though my Mama certainly did!) but I use Duke's the most and always have it on hand, so I prefer to sweeten the mayo myself when recipes call for it.

Sometimes I add in coconut and this time I added in some dried cranberries I had in the freezer. I really like the sweet and salty contrast.

Taste and adjust, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Add enough of the reserved pineapple juice to moisten just before serving.

Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Carrot Raisin Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 3 hours | Yield: About 4 cups

  • 3 cups of shredded carrots (about 6)
  • 1/2 cup of black or golden raisins
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple, drained but reserve juices
  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, more or less
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup of salted, cocktail peanuts, optional
  • 1/2 cup of shredded, sweetened coconut, optional

To a covered bowl, add the carrots, raisins and pineapple; toss. Refrigerate reserved pineapple juice. Whisk together the mayonnaise and sugar, add to the salad and toss. Taste and adjust, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Add enough of the reserved pineapple juice to moisten just before serving.

Cook's Notes: If raisins are not very soft or plump, pour enough boiling water over them to cover and let sit for about 5 minutes or until then soften and plump up; drain well then proceed. May substitute plain or Greek yogurt for the mayo - peach yogurt is a really nice variation and adds great flavor, but taste before adding any sugar. May also use a salad dressing like Miracle Whip for the mayonnaise, again taste before adding any sugar. May also substitute dried cranberries for the raisins, or use some of both. Other salted nuts - walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds - may also be used, or omit the nuts altogether, but add a pinch of salt. May also add in sliced bananas and/or apples just before serving. You may also need to adjust sugar according to the type of pineapple you are using.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on January 1, 2014
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