Pickled vegetables or “curtido” as this particular version is called, are so quick and easy to make. Which is good, because that need for a vinegary bite of something strikes me fairly often.
I have been waiting for this supposed “cauliflower shortage” to work itself out because I have been craving these pickled vegetables and I was not about to pay $7 for a head of cauliflower… Call me crazy.
I had completely resigned myself to the idea that I was not going to fulfill my craving anytime soon because the price of cauliflower was not budging and i just could not bring myself to pay three times the normal price. However, that little (ever-present, annoying, extremely loud) nagging voice in the back of brain said “Hey, let’s just walk over there and check”. Gah, I hate when she’s right… well, maybe just this once it’s okay.
So, into the cart went a few heads of cauliflower because I had plans. I was making curried cauliflower, roasting cauliflower steaks and this my friends, this vinegary blend of pickled vegetables with the slightest bit of sweetness. I could hardly wait!
This particular recipe for pickled veggies is also known as “curtido”, there are many varieties and everyone puts their own spin on it. I tried to go as traditional as possible here, so you would get the truest sense of this dish because it is part one of what will be a two-part series. Curtido is typically eaten around Easter week or Semana Santa and it is eaten on enchiladas, but not the enchiladas most of us are familiar with… these are akin to a tostada if we are comparing it to typical Mexican food you would find at a “Mexican” restaurant, but these enchiladas are Central American.
So, bookmark this recipe because we will be coming back to it as we approach Easter week to make something incredibly delicious. That being said, you don’t have to wait until Easter to make or devour this. I can eat them on their own, but the vegetables are delicious on a sandwich made on a crusty roll (think giardiniera) , sprinkled on top of your salad for a little extra punch, eaten alongside a bit of braised meat as the vinegar helps balance out the fat and richness.
I don’t process these for canning, I pack them into quart containers (the kind you get at the deli or from Chinese take-out) and store them in the back of the fridge. The pickled vegetables really need a couple of days to reach maximum deliciousness, I usually take the containers out and give them a little upside down shake whenever I think of it so everyone gets their turn in the vinegar bath. They will stay perfectly fine in the fridge for a few weeks, that is if they last that long.
- 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh peas
- 6 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1/2 head medium sized green cabbage, finely shredded
- 1 1/2 cups green beans, cut into 1 in pieces
- 4 medium sized beets
- 1/2 head cauliflower, broken into small pieces
- 1 TB dried oregano
- 3 TB sugar
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 375. Wrap beets in aluminum foil and set on a baking pan. Roast for 45-60 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the beet. Set aside to cool.
- While beets are cooling, put on a pot of salted water and bring to a simmer. You do not need a rolling boil, the goal is to soften the vegetables, not turn them into mush.
- While you are waiting for the water to come to a simmer, prepare the ice bath: fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Set aside.
- Add green beans, peas and shredded cabbage to the simmering water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon or a spider (don't throw out the water) and plunge the bean mixture into the ice bath.
- Add carrots and cook for a few minutes, then add cauliflower to the carrots. Let them cook for a few minutes more until softened. Again, the goal is to soften the vegetables, they should still have a little resistance when you bite them. When carrot and cauliflower mixture is to your liking, drain and add to ice bath.
- Remove all the vegetables from the water and set aside.
- When beets have cooled enough to handle, peel them by rubbing the outside with your hands or a paper towel and the skins will slip right off. I suggest wearing gloves while you do this, otherwise your hands will be purple for a week!
- Dice the beets into small pieces, and add all of the vegetables to a large, non-aluminum bowl. Add the oregano, vinegars, sugar and 1 - 2 teaspoons of salt, mix to combine and refrigerate.
- Stir vegetable mixture after an hour or so to ensure everything has soaked in the vinegar.
- Taste vegetables and adjust seasoning if needed. Stir again, pack into containers and refrigerate.
Some people prefer to boil the beets, but I find roasting them makes them sweeter and much more delicious.
The flavors will develop overnight and it will be ready to devour the next day, but if you can wait an extra day, you will be rewarded with even tastier pickled vegetables.
This recipe yields approximately 3 quarts, so you'll have enough to share with friends.