Carrot and Date Salad
Not only Ashkenazi Jews eat tzimmes on Rosh Hashana. Sliced carrots, reminiscent of golden coins, are considered a symbol for a prosperous year. In this delicacy hailing from the Jewish Moroccan kitchen, carrots are combined with dates, another symbolic autumn fruit.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2'' disks
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
8-10 fresh dates (those with smooth shiny skin), halved and pitted
1 sprig thyme
1 cinnamon stick
5 tablespoon silan (date honey - see below, or substitute honey)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Bring carrots to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet, and sauté the garlic until golden. Add dates and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add sliced carrots, thyme, cinnamon, silan (or honey) and lemon juice. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
Cool and serve at room temperature. The salad will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator.
Silan (Date Honey)
A very thick sweet syrup made from dried dates, similar to honey but darker in color and with a pronounced caramel taste. It is used as a color and flavor enhancer in slow-cooking dishes like hamin, or in any recipe calling for honey, caramel, molasses or syrup. If unavailable, it can be substituted by honey. Historians believe that the "honey" in the "Land of Milk and Honey" is actually silan.
photo: Danya Weiner (from "The Magic of Maroccan Cuisine")