Most vegetables lose their bright color when dunked in brine for a few days, but shallots buck that trend beautifully. Not only do these midget onions turn a pretty pink hue, but they also get sweet and mild as they pickle, making them a pleasure to slice and toss atop anything from the wok, but also mild enough to meld into leafy salads, sandwiches, chicken or tuna salad, and cold noodle dishes. And with the twist of orange and the booze in this brine, there are certainly cocktail applications to explore here far beyond the scope of Chinese cuisine. This recipe is an excerpt from Asian Pickles: China: Recipes for Chinese Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Pickles and Condiments.
Makes about 2 cups
Time: 3 days
- 13 ounces shallots (enough to fill a pint jar)
- 3 (1-inch) pieces orange zest
- 2 tablespoons good-quality Shaoxing wine or gin
- cup plus 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- About cup cool tap water
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. While you’re waiting, peel and trim the shallots.
Once the water is at a high boil, blanch the shallots for 2 minutes, until just tender. Drain and rinse well under cool running water to stop the cooking.
Place the orange zest in the bottom of a clean pint jar. Pack in the shallots and pour in the wine or gin, vinegar, sugar, and salt, then top off the jar with the water as needed to cover all the shallots.
Cover tightly and shake to combine the ingredients. Let sit on the countertop for 24 hours before refrigerating. The pickles are ready to eat after 3 days. Kept refrigerated, they will last at least 6 weeks.
I love American Public Media’s The Splendid Table nationwide radio show which, sadly, is not available on the air in my native San Francisco. (What’s up with that? Thank you, Internet!) Host Lynne Rossetto Kasper is just the sweetest lady on the planet, and they have very cool stories from every corner of the foodisphere – from chicken gizzard candy to Padma Lakshmi.
I’ve had the pleasure of being on the show four times – my most recent call-in is from the end of August, 2013, where I talk about all kinds of ketchup, and why it rocks to make your own (my recipe here). In addition:
- I talk about miso pickles, keeping a nuka bucket, and other aspects of Japanese pickling. (2013)
- I share some thoughts on bacon making and other easy home-cured charcuterie. (2009)
- I walk readers through my recipe for Chocolate Fudge Pops and other frozen treats for grown-ups. (2009)
Three’s the charm! Asian Pickles China: Recipes for Chinese Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Pickles and Condiments is the third e-book in the series, and it is now ready for download! Plunk down a mere three bucks and this baby is yours. Even if you don’t have an iPad, a Kindle, or any kind of electronic device other than a desktop computer, you can still read and revel in all 15 glorious recipes.
Some of my fave recipes include:
- Spicy Blackened Sichuan Pickled Peppers
- Tianjin Preserved Vegetable
- Sour Celery and Red Pepper
- Hong Kong Pickled Papaya, Shallots, and Cucumbers
Let me know what you think…
Time: 3-5 days
Note that this recipe can also work for cucumber spears, carrot sticks, or small cauliflower florets, and that it’s very easy to double, triple, or scale this to create as many jars as you need. These are the quintessential garnish for Bloody Mary’s, and a critical bit of acid bite for oily meats, sausages, or fowl. By all means, get experimental with other flavors like fresh ginger slices, jalapenos, cinnamon sticks, or black peppercorns, but dill – particularly its seed – is an essential pickle flavor.
- 1 large, whole, garlic clove, lightly crushed
- 1 tablespoon dill seed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried chile flake (optional)
- One small bunch of fresh dill weed
- About ¾ of a pound of perfect green beans, washed and trimmed
- About 2 oz. each distilled white vinegar and water
In the bottom of pint-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid, place the garlic, dill seed, salt, and chile flake (is using). Lay the jar on its side, and add the fresh dill, standing up. Then, working to fit as many green beans as possible into the jar, stand them up in the jar next to one another snugly.
Fill the jar halfway with vinegar, and then top off the remainder with cold, fresh tap water. Cover tightly, shake gently to dissolve the salt, and refrigerate. In three to five days, you’ll have delicious pickles that will last for several months.
Makes 1 pint.
Happy Summer, Food Eaters! Surely you’re knee-deep in homemade jam by now.
Karen Solomon with Friday Forum host Dave Iverson and Alex of Cultured Pickled Shop in Berkeley
Just a few notes on upcoming classes in the SF Bay Area, links to a couple of radio show appearances, a book update, and other morsels. And if you like what you’re reading here, be sure to sign up for Pickle News for fresh pickle happenings in your inbox.
- Plus more classes to come in the fall!
BOOKS AND E-COOKBOOKS
I am working on final edits for Asian Pickles, the print book, which will be out in March of 2014. In the interim I have a series of e-cookbooks featuring some of its content, including:
STILL READING THIS?
Really? Because you may be the only one. Or my mom. Or both.
Here are some great preserving recipes from my blog and my Saveur.com column to prod your taste buds along -
Happy canning! XoXo,