There’s been maybe a little too much sweet going on around here lately. Not that there’s any such thing as too much chocolate, but there’s certainly such a thing as not enough crispy, crunchy vegetables.
I don’t put up vegetable recipes all that often, because five nights out of every week I just choose something green, steam it, and toss a little olive oil or butter and salt on top. The other two nights I’m likely to have salad. Every now and then, though, my broccoli comes out of the fridge wanting to be roasted, or lima beans demand to become falafel, or a sad few remaining carrots in the back of the drawer wonder at me, “what would it be like to be pickled?”
I don’t even like pickles. Not the cucumber kind, anyway. It wasn’t until recently (in Atlanta, again) that I learned that carrots could be pickled, or that they’d become even more delightful once they soaked up a garlicky and herb-infused brine.
It’s easy. It’s crunchy. It takes less than two days of just leaving your vegetables in the refrigerator. And let’s be honest here: we’re all guilty of just leaving our veg in the fridge and having a chocolate bar instead sometimes. May as well make that time useful.
Ingredients (makes 2 jam jars full, serves 1 dinner party as part of an appetizer tray.)
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3-4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 T salt
2 big sprigs of rosemary
Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic in a saucepan.
Bring the brine to a boil and turn off the heat. all the salt and sugar should dissolve.
Meanwhile, peel the carrots and cut them either into sticks or chunks. Fill the jars with the carrots and stick the rosemary branches in among them.
Pour the vinegar mixture, garlic and all, over the carrots to fill the jars.
Use a tea towel to put the lids on the jars–the hot liquid won’t feel so great if you try to leave out the towel. Refrigerate the carrots for at least 2 days or up to a month or so.
These are good as an appetizer alongside sweeter hors d’oeuvre such as challah toast with salmon. They’re even better grated on a sandwich with turkey and mustard on toasted pumpernickel rye. Either way, the only simpler thing to do with these carrots is to eat them raw. And at least in this apartment, there’s usually something more interesting calling to be eaten than a raw, plain carrot (like an apple, or peanut butter out of the jar). These pickled ones have enough zazz to catch my attention, when I’m rummaging through the fridge for a snack, and it’s easy to find more and more dishes they seem to complement. I’m wishing I hadn’t run out of them so quickly; now I have to wait two more days for the next batch!