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I have an undeniable weakness for heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. My heartbeat accelerates at the glorious sight of gnarly shaped heritage tomatoes, miniature beets specked with gold and rippled in pink patterns, or baby carrots painted in vivid yellow and purple hues. I could not resist grabbing a few bunches of these gifts of the heart during my last trip at the farmers market. A splash of oil, a gentle coating of apulian vincotto and a scattering of fresh herbs is all that’s needed to complement their natural sweetness.
INGREDIENTS, serves 4
2 bunches of baby rainbow carrots (or orange dutch carrots)
3 tablespoons of Extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of Vin Cotto * (replace with balsamic vinegar if needed)
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
freshly picked thyme and marjoram leaves (or oregano)
1 garlic clove, bashed with back of a knife
1. Preheat your oven to 200 C (390 F)
2. Wash and scrub the carrots, remove the stalks and the leaves. Place carrots in a large bowl and season with oil, vin cot to, salt, pepper, garlic and herbs
3. Place the seasoned carrots onto an oven tray lined with baking paper and roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until nicely golden and slightly blistered.
4. Serve warm or cold as a side or as a salad mixed with peppery arugula leaves.
“Vincotto (translated as “cooked wine”) is a dark, sweet dense condiment produced artisanally in the Apulia region of southeastern Italy. It is made by the slow cooking and reduction over many hours of non-fermented grape must until it has been reduced to about one fifth of its original volume and the sugars present have caramelized. It can be made from a number of varieties of local red wine grapes includingPrimitivo, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera, collected after being allowed to wither naturally on the vine for about 30 days.
Vincotto has a sweet flavor, and is not a form of vinegar, though a sweet vinegar version can be produced using a vincotto as a base. This additional product is called a Vinegar of Vincotto, Vincotto Vinegar, or Vincotto balsamic and can be used in the same way as a good mellow Balsamic vinegar.”