MOROCCAN CARROT AND CHICKPEA SALAD

This salad has a tangy balance of sweet and sour. It includes an exotic fruit called a “pluot” – a cross between a plum and an apricot. Whole Foods sometimes carries dried pulots. Otherwise, you can substitute dried plums or apricots.
Ingredients: 

2 large carrots, shredded on a box grater or sliced whisper-thin on a mandolin
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15 ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2/3 cup dried pluots (you may find these at Whole Foods Market), or alternately plums or dried apricots, cut into chickpea-sized pieces
1/3 cup fresh mint, torn

Dressing:
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For serving: lots of toasted almond slices, dried or fresh rose petals - all optional (but great additions!)

 Serves: 6

Instructions: 

1. To make the dressing, first toast the cumin seeds in a dry skillet until fragrant and lightly browned, a minute or two. Let cool, and then grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder.

2. In a bowl or jar, whisk the ground cumin together with the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and cayenne pepper. Set aside the completed dressing.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, chickpeas, dried pluots (or plums or apricots), and mint, as well as almonds and rose petals (if you're including those as well).

4. Gently toss with the dressing until everything is evenly coated.

5. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. You can toss this salad, minus the almonds, hours in advance. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.