Goodbye Montreal poutine. Hello picnics in Queen’s Park! Which is exactly what I did yesterday afternoon.
It was a beautiful 20 Celsius in my big, new city, and I spend the out walking. I strolled down College Street, Dundas, Roncesvalles, and Grenedier, all the way to High Park, which is beautiful, even in the stern, grey colours of April.
Then, I took the subway to Queen’s Park. The subway in Toronto has terrific names—Landsdowne, Osgoode, Runnymede, Keele—all the more British with their E's, hanging at the end, like a decoration.
But I’d better get to the marinated carrots. They are the first thing I’ve made in my new kitchen, and they turned out to be as lovely in Ontario as they are anywhere else. These carrots are perfect: fresh, vinegary, sweet and spiced with a smidgeon of fresh chilies. And crunchy! A perfect picnic food, really.
The key to these carrots is to parboil them, just so. Too cooked, they’ll lose the crunch. I find that 10 minutes boiling is good, if I keep the carrots whole, or halved. Also, the recipe calls for the carrots to sit for 24 hours. They’re pretty good even after a few hours, so don’t hesitate to make them the same day.
Adapted from a recipe in The Silver Spoon (Phaidon Press)
1 ½ lbs carrots, washed, peeled and cut in half, crosswise to fit in the pot
2 cloves garlic, very finely minced
2 or 3 sprigs flat-leaf parley, chopped
pinch of dried oregano
6 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 small red chili, seeded and finely chopped
Cook the carrots in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes, or until just tender, but still quite crunchy. Drain and let sit (to dry) while you chop the garlic, parsley and chili. Cut the carrots into thin batons. In a bowl, combine carrots, garlic, parsley, oregano, olive oil, vinegar, and chili. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Serve cold or at room temperature (or picnic basket temperature, I suppose.)