Thursday, October 28, 2010

Portugese Pickled Carrots - conserva de cenoura - a recipe from the Algarve

When Astrid and I were in the Algarve region of Portugal a few months ago, everywhere we went restaurants and cafes served us these yummy, garlicky carrots. Served in little ceramic bowls, drizzled with fresh olive oil, it was the perfect nibble to accompany a cold glass of vinho verde or rose wine - and to dunk roughly torn pieces of fresh Portuguese bread into.

2 cups sweet carrots, peeled and sliced in rounds
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. parsley finely chopped
1-2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. sweet paprika
Salt - a pinch of sea salt/fleur de sel is best
black or green olives, with or without pits

1. Place peeled sliced carrots in a bowl and steam using microwave.  Zap until tender but not too soft. Microwaves vary, so 5 to 10min depending on microwave. *Note: Keep watch so your carrots don’t over cook.
Or simply simmer on the stove, in water to cover, until just tender.

2. Drain the carrots and place in bowl to cool slightly.

3. In another bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, chopped parsley, garlic, paprika, salt.

4. Pour combined liquids over the carrots and mix gently - so not to break carrots, but mix well enough to coat all the slices. Taste for salt and spice and add to taste.

5. Add olives now if you wish and mix again gently.

6. Store covered, in refrigerator. Let the mix rest and absorb the flavours for an hour before serving or let the flavours mature and mellow longer; it keeps beautifully in the refrigerator for 3 days easily. If it looks a bit dry when ready to serve, just drizzle on a bit more olive oil, stir and serve.

Serve with crisp Portuguese bread, baguettes, or other crisp crusted bread for dunking into the garlicky oil . A cold bottle of vinho verde will complete the perfect snack.