On our 40th anniversary trip to Mexico last fall, one of my favorite “meals” was the night we had pickled carrots in Oaxaca City. The day had been full, beginning with a long run (Dave)/walk-run (me) through the streets and up the many (!) stairs to the amphitheater. Later, we met Pablo, guide extraordinaire, for a visit to a potter and some weavers. We had wonderful barbecue and mole at a roadside cafe where the family/owners were making fresh tortillas over an open fire. Gotta love that Oaxaca food! We had also visited Monte Alban.
Not needing much food, we decided to walk to the zocola to watch for live music and maybe couples doing Danzón. We found an outside table at our favorite restaurant and couldn’t decide what to eat. Some wine might be nice while we decided….and they brought a plate of the most delicious pickled carrots with our wine. While we worked at our computers, documenting the day, and watching the activities around us, I consumed the entire plate of carrots.
When the waitress came around again, I told her I only wanted another plate of carrots.
Now, I have not perfected the recipe to recreate those wonderful carrots. Of course, the ambiance and aura of the day contributed to my enjoyment. But, Dave and I have scouted around and experimented and have made a pretty successful batch of pickled veggies that carry the same flavor and crispness. It is a common Mexican dish and as my husband often says, “Good and good for you.”
We put some fresh dill, a few peppercorns, and a teaspoon each of mustard and celery seeds into a quart jar that has a spring-loaded lid that seals tight, bought at IKEA for the very purpose . Then, we packed in cauliflower florets, carrot sticks, garlic cloves (10), asparagus spears, and a few jalapeno slices (for authenticity).
For the brine, got 4 cups of water boiling, then added 2 cups white vinegar and 6 teaspoons of salt. When the salt was dissolved, we poured the brine over the veggies and spices and let it cool. Then, sealed it up and put in the fridge for several days.
I sneaked a taste the next day and it was good. Waiting for a few weeks to really dig in, while @CopperCanyonGuy was in Copper Canyon, made the veggies even tastier. They lasted well and were gone after two months. We’ll do this again with other veggies.
Maybe some day, with only carrots, if I can find the big ones like the ones that were sliced into big discs…like the ones that we dined on in Oaxaca.