Mexican Spicy Carrot Pickles

Mexican Spicy Carrot Pickles
(Zanahorias en escabeche)

I love the spicy carrots on the salsa bar when we go for tacos. So much so, a couple years back I asked The Google for some recipes. I found one that was okay at the time, but haven’t made it since.
We’re having a Fiesta Friday potluck at the office this week. (Because although we appreciate the alliteration of a Taco Tuesday, none of us has the time for an office party on a Tuesday.) I made carnitas and wanted some cebollas en escabeche to go along. That got me thinking about those carrots again. YouTube is overflowing with awesome home cooks making their zanahorias. I always wondered why there was a tiny bit of oil in the pickle juice – and now I know. The veg are lightly sauteed before adding the vinegar. Dur. Makes perfect sense.

My searches also garnered the Spanish dish by the same name, and it was interesting to see the differences – thyme and pimenton, cook the carrots a little longer. No hot peppers. I’m thinking the Mexican version is a post-colonial smoosh – but, hey. I am no food anthropologist. Anywho, this was maybe twenty minutes start to finish. I bet you have the ingredients already. These stay good a couple weeks in the fridge – if they last that long. Make some today to have ready for your Taco Tuesday. You can totally eat these the same day, but they certainly get better the longer they soak in that gorgeous escabeche.

Zanahorias en escabeche
Makes about 3 cups.
1# carrots, peeled and sliced in to ¼” thick diagonal ovals.
3 jalapenos, halved
½ large white onion, sliced in ¼” thick half-moons
3 cloves garlic, slightly smooshed with the flat of your knife
½ tsp. black pepper corns
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. Mexican oregano leaves
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 ½ c. white vinegar
1 ½ c. water
(sal al gusto)

In a large non-reactive skillet on medium, heat the oil, pepppercorns, bay, oregano, and the garlic until you can smell the garlic. Then, add everything but the water and the vinegar. Stir around (you do not want this to brown) for a minute or two until you see the onions are starting to soften. Pour in the water and vinegar, and simmer until the jalapenos are done – they will change from a deep green to an olive green.
While that is simmering, prepare your container. You want something that can handle hot liquid – I used glass with those snappy silicone gasket lids. Just be sure to heat up the container with some hot water before you dump in your pickles. (Just imagine cold glass and hot liquid. Yeah.)
When the jalapenos are done, scoop all the veg in to your prepared container. Then, pour in just enough of the liquid to cover them. You will most likely have extra liquid at the end. Toss it. Or use it to make a vinaigrette.

That’s it. You’re done. Cool it. Label it & pop it in the fridge and enjoy.
PS – all the recipes I saw added salt to these puppies, but I think this is plenty flavorful without. But add some if you like!

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the red onion and the chile de arbol in the knolled pic – I made some cebollas en escabeche at the same time. But those are already a blog post…

Cebollas en Escabeche al Estilo Karencita

Cebollas en escabeche
Cebollas en escabeche

The barbacoa taco post, continued……

 

The marinade and the onion....
The marinade and the onion….

 

From raw to righteous
From raw to righteous

So, I wish I had the patience for the real deal. And the forethought to plan ahead several weeks. But, I don’t. So, although I started with this recipe, I cheated.

 
For the onions
1 medium red onion, sliced in 1/4″ slices left whole.
1 c. boiling water
For the marinade
1/2 c. red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano leaves
1/4 c. water
2 bay leaves
4 black peppercorns
2 cloves, whole
Instructions
Stack the onions in a heat-resistant glass jar (like a wide-mouth Mason or Weck jar)
Cover with the boiling water and let cool to tepid. (This parcooks the onions.)
Put the marinade ingredients in a pyrex measuring cup, and microwave for two minutes.
Drain the soaking water from the jar, but leave the onions in.
Cover the onions with the marinade, making sure the pepper corns and cloves go in. Slide the bay leaves around the outside of the onions because it’s pretty.
If you have leftover vinegar, just toss it.
If you need more liquid, heat up some more vinegar/water to boiling (1:1 ratio) and top off the container.
Let cool on the counter, then refrigerator for up to a month.
Notes
You can eat these as soon as the next day, and they get tastier the longer they sit. Assuming you can get them to last, that is.

Adapted from Mexican Authentic Recipes