Carrot Recipe

Portuguese Marinated Carrots

The food of Portugal is much underrated. Not only so they make the best custard tarts in the world but Portuguese cooks are masters of simple foods packed with fresh, local ingredients. My family has spent a lot of time in Portugal and we will rave about the food to anyone who wants to listen.

As well as custard tarts there is the best bread I have ever tasted, incredible seafood and these carrots. Eating in a Portuguese restaurant is never a quick affair. Everything is cooked from scratch so your main meal usually doesn’t arrive for about 45 minutes to an hour. Turns out this is a good thing because – couvert!

Couvert is basically a platter of tasty things & bread to keep you from going hungry while you wait for your food. It features such delights as olives, sardine pate, garlic utter, cured cheese, chorizo & our fave – marinated carrots. They are a lesson in simplicity, just cooked carrots (infused with bay) with garlic, a vinaigrette & herbs. Usually they are served with coriander or parsley but when I received some carrots with their tops in my box last week I realised the tops are a wonderful substitute and a great way to eat the whole vegetable. This is also a great way to enjoy fresh garlic at this time of year, it is sweeter and perfect just warmed through in the heat of the cooked carrots.

This is great as a starter with some crusty bread or alongside a summer meal. I also use this method with other vegetables, beans of all kinds love a vinaigrette. It is a perfect way to prepare the freshest sweetest summer carrots such as the ones in your veg box from Caldwells in Ayrshire.

Straight out of the Ayrshire soil – YUM!


serves 4, as a side or on a starter platter

5-6 carrots
2 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
2 cloves garlic, the freshest sweetest ones you can find
3 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp white wine vinegar
A handful of chopped carrot tops
Salt & Pepper

Preparation (about 20 minutes)

1. Give the carrots a little scrub. Slice them and boil gently in salted water with the bay leaf until tender.

2. Meanwhile, finely slice the garlic and mix together the oil and vinegar. These things need to be ready as soon as the carrots are soft.

3. Drain the carrots and immediately add the garlic, oil and vinegar while they are still hot so that the garlic and vinegar cook a little in the heat to take away some of their pungency.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix everything together really well. Garnish with your carrot tops. Leave to cool. You can give them a good stir while they are cooling to make sure the carrots absorb plenty of the oil & vinegar.