I have to admit that I have some romantic notions about country farmhouses and Western european peasants. I sometimes envision this pastoral life that's closer to Marie Antoinette's Petite Hameau than to any actual reality. But this romantic vision gives me an enthusiasm for making anything that reminds me of country kitchens and old world root cellars - pickles, preserves, crusty loaves of bread, and soups full of herbs in little bundle. Whenever I see these kind of recipes, I have to make them, while daydreaming that I have a large kitchen in a cottage somewhere and a little larder full of neatly labelled jars .
That's nowhere near the truth, but it's still fun to pretend for a minute.
So of course when I saw a recipe in Fine Cooking for pickled carrots, I had to make them. First of all, they looked delicious. Second of all, they'll keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, so I could make a purchased bunch of carrots last.
I am also a new pickle enthusiast. For most of my life "pickles" to me meant pickled cucumbers. The kind of pickle you get tossed on the side of your deli sandwich, and I have to say I have never liked them. First of all, I like fresh crispy cucumbers, with their delicate, pale green flavor, so I feel like they are kind of ruined by the pickling. But the worst thing to me about these typical pickles is that they smell different from how they taste. I actually love the vinegary smell, and I always feel a little betrayed by the taste, which doesn't quite live up to the promise of the fragrance.
I have since discovered that there's a wide world of pickles out there made from many different types of fruits and vegetables and that lots of them are really good. My carrots turned out very vinegary and a bit sweet. They make a nice side dish for a sandwich. I've also julienned them and thrown them in a salad. No need for dressing then! They would also probably be good in a rice dish or as a side to soup.
BABY CARROTS PICKLED in CHAMPAGNE & SHERRY VINEGAR:
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 lb. baby carrots with their tops on (18 to 20 carrots, about 6 inches long and 1/2 inch thick at the wide end)
- 2 Tbs. whole coriander seeds
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/4 cups honey
- 1 cup Champagne vinegar
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
2. Meanwhile, peel the baby carrots and remove all but about 1/2 inch of the green stems. Boil the carrots until barely tender, about 5 minutes. Immediately drain the carrots and then immerse them in the bowl of ice water.
3. In a small saucepan, toast the coriander seeds over medium heat just until they become fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the white wine and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 6 to 10 minutes.
4. In a medium saucepan, heat the honey over medium-high heat until it bubbles, about 3 minutes. Add the Champagne and sherry vinegars, and then the coriander and wine mixture; simmer for 5 minutes--watch carefully and reduce the heat as necessary to prevent a boil-over.
5. Arrange the carrots upright in a clean 1-qt. canning jar or other nonreactive container, and pour the honey mixture over the carrots. Let cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably 24 hours before serving the pickles. They will keep, refrigerated, for 2 to 3 weeks.
And these last pictures have nothing to do with food, it's just free cuteness. Puppy sleeping in the afternoon sun.