Here’s a vegetarian nibble, nonetheless a very Portuguese one.
Our tidbits, or petiscos as we call them, are a reason to mingle and an excuse to have a drink or two.
The Algarve was only conquered in 1249 and considered as a separate part of the country for centuries.
Given the fact that Portugal was occupied by diverse cultures for so long and is vastly known for being the main entrance to Europe, the Algarve in particular prospered into a very unique region.
Boasting grand monuments like Moorish castles, places named with the “Al” prefix and special ingredients, this region is characterised by its predominant Arab influence – such as the recipe I share with you today.
In restaurants and taverns through this southern part of our country, you will find this simple marinated carrot preserve, made with cumin – one of the many ingredients that has become part of our traditional food.
– 1 kg peeled carrots
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 teaspoon caster sugar
– 3 cloves of minced garlic
– 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
– 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
– 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
– 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and cilantro
– Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Boil the peeled carrots for 15-20 minutes, with the bay leaf and teaspoon of sugar. They are not meant to be overcooked.
Cut the carrots into large slithers, big enough to be eaten with a toothpick.
Mix in the remaining ingredients except the cumin, which has a special technique associated with it.
By slightly heating the seeds in a non stick frying pan, they become more aromatic. Just make sure not to burn them!
Don’t throw away all of the cooked broth; keep at least half a cup for the marinated concoction and the remaining can be used for a soup or to make some tasty vitamin-rich rice.
This is a great recipe for a nibble evening with friends.
Any leftovers? Make a tasty tuna sandwich for lunch, with this veggie as an extra filling.
By Megan Melling
Megan Melling’s journey into the food world started in 2011 when she decided to enrol in Cookery and Food Production in Estoril. She was born American, but grew up in the Algarve, so she gets the best of two opposite culinary cultures.
She has worked as a cook in Lisbon for the past year and is currently in the process of opening up a gourmet project in Lagos. Check out all of her personal recipes on her blog www.melsvittles.wordpress.com and facebook page Huum, food for some yummy photos and food facts.