Carrot and Sunflower Salad

I've never been one for diets. The only carrots that interest me,
are the number you get in a diamond.
Mae West

This statement from one of cinema's greatest sex symbols should really get more exposure, even though I agree with the first part more than with the second. Diamonds don't really interest me, but as women and girls all around the world obsess over their weight, hurting themselves to conform to unattainable standards, Mae West remains, even in her forties and fifties, a stunningly attractive woman. Really, see for yourselves. And I don't think she either wore size 8 or was depressed about it.
While I admire her joie de vivre and witty comments, I'm ready to argue that carrots have actually quite a lot to offer.  Not only do they contain a vast amount of carotene (making it a vitamer of vitamin A, one that is very important for all of us computer users), but they can be used in a number of interesting, tasty ways. I'm going to start easy, however, with a carrot and sunflower seed salad that goes perfectly with gratin dauphinois You saw here lately.
  • Carrots - one per person
  • Sunflower seeds - as much as you like but a handful at least
  • Garlic - one medium/small  clove
  • Sauce base - this can be mayonnaise, sour cream or plain yogurt, depending on Your preferences (and diet)
  • Olive oil - one teaspoon
Peel the carrots and grate them, but not too thinly. If  You use a very  mince grater, carrots will leak juice that will interfere unpleasantly with the sauce. Mash the garlic with olive oil (it will go much easier with it and the aroma is wonderful). This is best done in the same dish You plan to be serving the salad in, because it spares You the task of scraping up the mortar, or whatever You are using, and cleaning it, while losing half the garlic in the process.
With the garlic mashed and ready, add whatever You chose as sauce base. Mayonnaise and cream can support a bigger amount of garlic than yogurt, so choose as You like it. Mix the mashed garlic with sauce base and sunflower seeds, before adding grated carrots. This will ensure even distribution of the seeds. You're done!

This is quite a strong, piquant salad, so it can be used for dishes that need spicing up - fat, roasted meats, rich, creamy bakes etc. I made it when visiting my parents one day, to go with my Mother's Famous Roast Chicken (capital letter justified, believe me) and the salad vanished before the meat did. Extraordinary.

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