May in Ottawa may not seem like the time to make pickled anything, but I got my hands on a bunch of beautiful serrano chiles, so that's exactly what I'm going to do today!
I'm sharing with you a post I wrote for The Latin Kitchen on the most delicious pickled vegetables en escabeche that I made in Mexico last year with my Nana's harvest or red-ripe Jalapeños.
Pickling food by mixing with vinegar has been a method of preservation for thousands of years. Vinegar is considered an acid, and that’s why it prevents bacteria from forming in food. In the age before refrigeration, mixing food with vinegar was a perfect way to preserve food.
The practice of combining food and vinegar comes from the Arabic world, where they usually used this method to preserve fish. From there, the practice went to Spain, and from Spain it came to the New World.
In the New World, the method was adopted to include local ingredients and it evolved in different countries to make different dishes. By definition, an Escabeche will have vinegar, oil, herbs and spices. Whether it is made with fish, meat or vegetables, it is the cook’s choice.
In Mexico, we have a few types of escabeches, but none more famous and popular than our Chiles en escabeche, whether mixed with other vegetables or not. This is a food item that is never absent from any Mexican fridge or pantry. But escabeches are not merely “pickled” vegetables, they must have olive oil, herbs and spices, and that is the main difference between a true escabeche and ordinary pickled vegetables.
It is very easy to go to the grocery store to buy chiles in escabeche in a can, but making them at home is very easy and the results are delicious. In fact, once you start making them, you will not want to buy them again, as they are far superior in taste, and the best part is you know what exactly is in your food.
A batch of these veggies will make enough to last a couple of months, so it is well worth the effort. Eat them with tortas, hamburgers, sandwiches or pizza.
Chiles y Verduras en Escabeche
Pickled Jalapeños and Vegetables
½ cup olive oil
1 lb jalapeño chiles
1 large onion, cut into thick julienne
3 small carrots, peeled and cut into ¼” rounds
1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1 heaping Tbsp Mexican oregano
4 bay leaves
2 Tbsp kosher salt, or to taste
If you want whole chiles, prick them all over with the tip of a sharp knife. If you want slices, stem chiles and cut into quarters lengthwise.
In large saucepan, heat olive oil. Add onions and cook just until softened, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and chiles and cook for 5 minutes. Add vinegar, water, salt, cauliflower, oregano and bay leaves. Bring mixture to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
Spoon vegetables into clean glass jars and let cool completely. When cool, cover and store in the fridge at least 24 hours, to let mixture pickle completely.
Makes about 2 litres
Recipe was first featured at www.thelatinkitchen.com