Lightly Pickled Fall Root Vegetables
Source: Alice Waters, Chez Panisse
Adapted from the recipe for Fresh-Pickled Vegetables from The Art of Simple Food.
A good tasty use for a variety of fall vegetables is vinegar pickles. Unlike fermented pickles, which take weeks to months, these are ready to eat in a few minutes and will keep for a week. These pickles can be used in a variety of ways and are good to have on hand to brighten up a charcuterie plate—or to serve as an hors d’oeuvre on their own. Feel free to alter the ingredients of the brine: try using red wine vinegar instead of white, adding a bit of saffron, or experimenting with other kinds of dried chiles or fresh sliced jalapeño.
Use this method to pickle little florets of cauliflower, sliced carrots, quartered cipollini onions, sliced celery, quartered baby artichokes, small turnips cut into wedges with some of their stems still attached, and more. Sometimes I just slice red onions very thin and pour boiling brine over them. By the time they cool they will have cooked just enough, and they are delicious served with smoked fish and new potatoes.
1½ cups white wine vinegar
1¾ cups water (or substitute ⅔ cups white wine, ⅔ cups water)
2½ tablespoons sugar (optional)
½ bay leaf
4 thyme sprigs
½ dried cayenne pepper or a pinch of dried chile flakes
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
2 whole cloves
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
A generous pinch of salt, to taste (the brine should be just slightly salty)
2 bunches carrots, peeled and sliced
2 shallots, sliced
1 bunch small turnips, peeled and sliced
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1 large fennel bulb (or 2 medium), sliced
Prepare the pickling solution by combining all the brine ingredients and bringing them to a boil.
Cook each type of vegetable separately in this boiling brine, scooping them out when they are cooked but still a little crisp. Set them aside to cool. Once all the vegetables are cooked and cooled, and the pickling solution has cooled to room temperature, combine the vegetables, transfer to jars or another covered container, cover with pickle brine, and refrigerate.
Photo by Kimberley Hasselbrink/Good Eggs.