Carrots aren’t exactly one of those menu items that gets me excited.  Raw carrots right out of the garden?  Crisp and sweet and really nice? Now that, I like.  But cook up a carrot, no matter how perfectly you do it, and I’m usually not interested.  Well, that is until I found these gems.  I came across this recipe in one of my favorite Spanish cookbooks — The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen.  I was trying to find a new recipe for a vegetable tapa (other than the standards) for a tapas party, and the photo in the cookbook caught my attention.  Little flecks of garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes mixed with the carrots were enough to make me want to try it.

So I followed the recipe, laid out the tapas spread, and — lo and behold — the carrots disappeared in a flash.  It’s even become a favorite of our under-15-yr-old friends and family.  Here you have it, then.  Carrots. I can’t believe I’m doing this.

(Oh, and here’s that Moorish influence again!)

Sevillan Marinated Carrots  (Zanahorias Aliñadas)

adapted from The New Spanish Table

Sevillan Marinated Carrots(Note that you may want to try this marinade with other vegetables)

1 pound fresh carrots — try to find thicker carrots that aren’t split, and that are fairly thick all the way to the root end

3 – 4 large Garlic cloves, diced fine

2 tsp Cumin seeds

2 tsp dried Oregano

1 pinch dried red pepper flakes (optional – careful these can make the dish too hot for some)

2 Tbs fresh flat leaf Parsley — chopped fine

1 tsp coarse Salt (sea salt)

1/2 cup plus 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 cup fresh Lemon juice

1 1/2 Tbs best-quality Red Wine Vinegar

1. Scrape the carrots and trim off the top and bottom.  Place in a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook until slightly tender, but still crisp.  The time will vary, depending on the diameter of the carrots, so be very careful not to overcook – you don’t want them to lose their color or crispness. 8 min is approximate, but watch closely so you don’t overcook.  Drain immediately and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices.

2. While the carrots are cooking, put the garlic, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, 1 Tbs parsley, and salt in a mortar and pestle and mash to a paste, adding 1 Tbs Olive Oil as you go (I like it to be a little rough, so I don’t squash it to death). Whisk the lemon juice into the paste.

3.  Put the garlic paste into a glass bowl, add the vinegar and the remaining 1/2 c. olive oil and whisk to mix.  Toss in the carrots and mix well.  Let marinate for at least 6 hours before serving.  Can be kept refrigerated for a week — but always serve at room temperature.  Serves 8 – 10 as a light tapa.

Buen provecho!

Do you have other vegetable based tapas recipes to share?  Tell us about it!