Carote marinate, or marinated carrots, are beautiful to look at and wonderfully versatile. In season year ’round, they serve equally well as an antipasto or side dish, or as part of a buffet spread. Best of all, they take almost no effort to make and can—indeed, should—be made ahead of time. If you ask me, every cook should make marinated carrots part of their Italian repertoire. The dish is at its best made with those gorgeously slender and sweet baby carrots, but even supermarket carrots will lend themselves nicely to this treatment.
Serves 4-6 as an antipasto or side dish
- 500g (1 lb) carrots (see Notes)
For the marinade:
- A few sprigs of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- A good pinch (or two) of red pepper flakes, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- The juice of half a lemon, freshly squeezed
- 250 ml (1 cup) best quality olive oil
Parboil the carrots in salted water until just slightly done and still quite crunchy. You are not looking to actually cook them—just to soften them a bit, to allow the marinade to penetrate. Cooking times will vary by the type and cut of carrots you are using. For baby carrots as pictured above, 4-5 minutes will do, for larger carrots just a minute or two more. Shredded carrots will take only 1 or 2 at most.
Remove the carrots and them drain in a colander until they have cooled off but still a bit warm.
As the carrots are draining, mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl (or mix them all up in a food processor, using the pulse function to avoid emulsifying them). Give the marinade a taste and feel free to add a bit of this or that to suit your taste.
Transfer the carrots to a bowl and pour the marinade over. Mix well and let the carrots macerate for at least an hour, preferably several, mixing from time to time.
Serve in a bowl or dish, pouring any remaining marinade over all.
Baby carrots are my favorite choice for this dish. They make an elegant presentation for a sit down dinner, but you can make this dish with regular supermarket carrots, too. Peel and parboil them as directed above, then, after they’ve drained and cooled a bit, but them into slices or matchsticks. If you want to save time, you can also use those convenient bags of pre-shredded carrots as well—just be sure to cook them very quickly.
While marinated carrots lend themselves to making ahead, the taste gets stronger the longer you marinate them. As a certain point, say after 24 hours, the marinade becomes a bit overwhelming.
Post Scriptum. By the way, folks, turns out this is my 400th post. It’s been quite a journey! We’ve come a long way…