Instant carrots with sherry vinegar and honey

The star performer in this recipe is the sherry vinegar. I can’t explain exactly why it lifts the carrots way beyond the mundane, but suffice to say it does. I get mine from Belazu who say theirs has flavours of vanilla, dried fruit and wine-soaked wood. I’m afraid my senses of taste and smell are not that discerning, but I do think a bit of dried fruit added at the beginning, when there’s lots of juice to rehydrate it might do very well indeed… sour cherries, cranberries, or raisins maybe. Or if you are feeling adventurous perhaps chopped dried apricot.

The heavy lifting is done by the ready-shredded carrots. I am shameless about this. The recipe is only for two, but you could scale it up easily… it will just take almost the same amount of time, the extra time being how long it takes you to empty bags of grated carrots into a big, wide saucepan.

And, as I mention in the recipe, an additional level of sophistication can be achieved if you manage to find some bitterish honey, or perhaps some dark, resinous maple syrup.

I also use orange juice in Saucy Dressings’ sweet and saucy carrots. It certainly improves it. The theory is that this is because the orange juice enhances the sweetness of the carrots whilst the acidity in it helps develop the flavour and prevents the whole mix becoming too cloying. The sherry vinegar will do the same with less discretion, so this way of doing carrots is particularly successful with fish, chicken or veal in a creamy sauce which maybe needs a bit of brightness and zing.

You can make this ahead of time – a day or so – but take off the heat a little earlier, just before the carrots are cooked through, then heat through for a couple of minutes before serving.

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