Spanish Carrot Salad and Black Hummus

For me, summer meals often mean creating a selection of mezze dishes (or should it be meze? I don't know and neither does my dictionary). I'll regularly make French carottes râpées and some classic hummus but, just for a change, here are two alternatives to those classics which should freshen things up a bit. 

I use the amounts given here to serve 2, 3 or 4 people as part of a mezze, depending on how many other dishes I can be bothered to make.

Spanish Carrot Salad

I've had this recipe scribbled in a notebook for more than 30 years but, until recently, I'd never actually made a version using the PX (Pedro Ximenez) sherry vinegar that the recipe called for. It was only during lockdown that I shifted myself to buy some on line. But you could use another sherry vinegar, as long as you add a little extra sweetness (and maybe a dash of PX sherry). I've played around with the dish a little to suit my tastes these days but it's not complicated to make and it's an oil-free dressing, if that's important to you.
Spanish Carrot Salad

Chilli sherry is ideal for rehydrating the sultanas but, if you don't have any, use a dry or medium sherry (maybe with a dash of tabasco) or orange juice or, if all else fails, a little water. If you're not using a sweet orange juice in the dressing (Seville oranges in the winter are wonderful but definitely not sweet), then you may need to add a little touch of something to sweeten it up.

If you want to use pickled wild garlic stems in this recipe, then you need to prepare them in advance. Pick some stems, wash and finely slice them and pickle for at least a week in a standard pickling mix (I use water, vinegar, sugar and a little salt). Keep in the fridge. Very simple and worth doing for a garlicky, savoury hit when you need it.

200 g (prepared weight) freshly grated carrot
A dozen or so sultanas, rehydrated in two tablespoons of chilli sherry for at least 2 hours or overnight. (If you haven't got chilli sherry, see the options above)

For the dressing:
     1 tsp Dijon mustard
     2 tbsp PX sherry vinegar
     Juice of ½ orange 
     A generous sprinkling of salt and pepper

To finish:
     1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, chives or pickled wild garlic stems (or a combination)
     A few pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together, pour over the grated carrot and add the rehydrated sultanas. If you're not serving immediately, chill until you're ready, although don't keep for more than 48 hours. 

To serve, scatter the toasted pine nuts over the carrots and sprinkle with the parsley, chives or the pickled wild garlic. 

Black Hummus

It's not really black, it's more of a dark, brownish grey, but it's made with ingredients that call themselves black and that's good enough for me. 

Black Hummus

You could purée your own black garlic (you just need black garlic, a little water and a powerful blender) but the commercial products I've come across are essentially a stabilised emulsion of black garlic, oil and water and taste really good. In fact, for small amounts like this, it's far easier to let someone else do the work. 

One tin of black chickpeas - around 270g drained weight, reserve the liquid from the tin
4 tbsp black tahini
4 tsp black garlic purée
40 ml lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt or smoked sea salt
A pinch of cumin 
A pinch of paprika

Add everything (except the spare liquid from the tin) to a mini processor and whiz up. Add as much of the tin liquid as you want to make a smooth result that's as thick as you like it to be.

To serve, drizzle with a little olive oil and, if you fancy, a smidgen of balsamic vinegar (well, it is black after all).


  1. This sounds really delicious. I love hummus, but have never tried this one. Salad sounds interesting too, and I happen to have a bottle of sherry vinegar I brought back from my last trip to France.

    1. Although I've used it for more years than I care to remember, I don't think I've appreciated just how good and how varied sherry vinegar really can be until the last few years. You don't need a lot of it to make a big difference to the taste of a dish.


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