Marinated Carrots Sticks with Thyme and Oregano
I am still under the influence of tapas. We have just returned from Spain were we enjoyed tapas, pinchos and montaditos in all forms for the last few months. Truth be told, most of the tapas we found in Spain focused on Iberian ham of one kind or another and seafood of every variety. Being of vegetarian persuasions I sometimes found it difficult to find a vegetarian item on the pages and pages of tapas offering at tapas bars and restaurants. I have done my pre-trip “homework” as a “foodie” though and I was soon able to ask for vegetables that were in season and managed quite well, trying out different dishes that were entirely vegetarian.
I am planning to have friends over soon for a tapas party (you’re invited) and beginning to think about what kind of tapas I would make with a focus on vegetables (not exclusively, my friends are not necessarily vegetarians). This marinated carrots recipe is an old standby that I found in Marcella Hazan’s book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking years ago, adapted it a little and have been making them ever since. The carrot sticks are crisp, delicious and refreshing and always get rave reviews because in spite of their simplicity they are really good. Although the origin of the recipe is Italian I think it can stand in for Spanish tapas. Don’t you?
As Leonardo Da Vinci said:
“la semplicità è l’ultima sofisticazione”
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
3 sprigs fresh thyme (not dried)
1-2 sprigs fresh oregano
1-2 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Hot pepper flakes optional (a pinch)
Jut enough olive oil to cover the carrots.
Optional for serving: toasted pumpkin seeds
Peel the carrots and cut into match sticks about 3″ long. Don’t worry too much about the size, as long as they are more or less even in length and thickness.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and drop the carrot sticks into the water.
Boil for about 5 minutes just until they lose their crunch. Err on the side of cooking less, not more.
Drain well and place in a glass dish.
Add minced garlic, salt, pepper and chopped herbs.
Add a pinch of hot pepper flakes if using.
Drizzle vinegar over the carrots.
Add enough olive oil to barley cover the sticks.
Leave at room temperature if you are serving them the same day.
Refrigerate if you are serving this later.
Bring back to room temperature before serving.
Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and additional fresh herbs.