This recipe of pickled carrots is a favorite of ours as it reminds us of our holidays to Portugal. We usually manage a trip to the beautiful region of Southern Portugal called the Algarve annually. In this region whenever you go for a meal, you are presented with some small dishes and bread called couvert when seated at your table. If you are unfamiliar it may be helpful to remember that with the couvert you pay for anything that you eat if brought to your table. The dishes usually consist of little plates of olives, pickled carrots, small cheeses, sardine paste, butter and if you are very lucky slices of the local forest black pig ham thinly sliced (similar to Parma ham). This comes with baskets of sour-dough bread (naughty I know but you try to resist!!!). The couvert is so delicious that I have been known to eat so much of this that I spoil my appetite for the main meal.
Here is my version of the carrots in vinegar, and I think this isn’t too far away from the Algarvian dishes. I found the recipe in the book called Portuguese Cooking published by Bonechi. I picked this cookery book up at Faro airport, but I see it is available from Amazon.
Carrots in Vinegar or Pickled Carrots or Cenouras em Conserva.
4 medium carrots
2 teaspoons lazy garlic (or about 3 cloves garlic finely chopped).
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Sprig of thyme (could use parsley or a little dried thyme)
150 ml Cider vinegar or you could use red wine vinegar.
1. Peel the carrots then chop them into 1/4 inch rounds.
2. Boil the carrots in salted water for about 10 minutes or until good and tender, you could alternatively cook the carrots in the microwave oven.
3. Drain the carrots and while warm put them in a bowl and cover with the vinegar, garlic, smoked paprika and chopped thyme.
4. Leave in the fridge to infuse for about 3 hours, stirring the carrots in the vinegar mixture if and when you remember.
5. Serve as a side dish with cold meats and salad, or copy the Portuguese way and enjoy eating these a part of your own “couvert”.