VARIANTES

VARIANTES (Spanish mixed olives with pickled vegetables and garlic)

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This recipe is from the Bar Mendizabal at Carrer Hospital in Barcelona. In Spain, these spicy olives with pickled vegetables are normally bought already mixed at market stalls that specialize in olives and pickles. They are typically a bar-top snack served with a strongly flavored, mid-day aperatif like vermouth or a Campari and soda. Any olives will do for the recipe, but Spanish olives would be more authentic.

12 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 carrot, peeled and cut diagonally into ¼ inch thick slices

24 mixed brine-cured green and black olives, drained

12 cocktail onions in vinegar, drained

12 baby gherkins in vinegar, drained

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

pinch of hot chili powder

½ teaspoon pimenton or sweet paprika

generous pinch of fresh thyme leaves


1. Bring a small saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the garlic, return to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Add the carrot, return to a boil and cook 1 minute more. Drain, then plunge the garlic and carrot slices into cold water. Drain again and peel the garlic (the skins will come off easily).

2. Transfer the garlic and carrot slices to a glass bowl. Add the olives, onions and gherkins and mix well. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt, chili powder, pimenton and thyme and stir gently to coat all the ingredients evenly. Cover and refrigerate the olive and vegetable mixture until well chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours, stirring once or twice.

from Paul Richardson, Barcelona, Williams Sonoma

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