My Father’s family is Ukrainian and Polish, so I often joke that it’s pickle juice in my veins. The Ukrainians and Polish love their pickled foods. I can’t say that I am a huge fan of all things pickled, but I appreciate a well thought out pickled thing every now and again. I was thinking about ingredients that I don’t often get a chance to use the other day and into my head popped something that I was very uncertain should be pickled. An Ingredient of very little flavor on it’s own, Cauliflower is very mild and can get lost in a lot of recipes. Most people don’t even like it because it can be such a flavorless vegetable (when cooked incorrectly or eaten raw without any sort of vegetable dip, I can say that I don’t like it by itself) I recalled a marinated salad that my grandmother used to make that was very simple, but I loved how the cauliflower in it absorbed the flavor and were these crunchy, wonderful bits of freshness in the salad. (I will be giving a recipe for this salad soon, don’t worry.) but I was really craving the cauliflower and was thinking of flavor combinations I could use to bring it to life like I remembered, but with a bit of a twist. So I created in my head, a recipe for pickled cauliflower and decided that I would buy a head of cauliflower and give it a try the next time I hit the grocery store. To my delight, I visited a restaurant that had it on the menu and decided to give it a try. It was almost exactly the same as the recipe that I had designed, so I knew I was on the right path. It was savory, tart, yet slightly sweet, with a touch of herbal and garlic notes. Such a delight! As soon as I got home I just had to make my recipe so that I could have some more. Yum, I hope you’ll give it a shot, it may sound a bit odd to eat pickled cauliflower, but it is mild and satisfying and could be added to savory salads, a garnish for finger foods or eaten straight from the jar (be careful! It’s addictive!)
The Recipe makes enough for one 30 Ounce Jar. These are refrigerator pickles and can be eaten within 3-4 hours after brining. The carrots add a nice sweetness to it as well.
Crisp Pickled Cauliflower
1 Large Carrot, Sliced thinly
1/2-1/3 of a head of Cauliflower, cut into just slightly larger than bite sized pieces
3 Large Cloves of Garlic, halved
2 Medium Bay Leaves
1 3/4 Cups Water
1 1/2 Tbsp Course Sea Salt
1 Tbsp White Granulated Sugar
5 Allspice Berries (yes, only 5, we want subtle here)
1 tsp of Fresh Basil (I just used 3 large basil leaves and threw them in)
1/2 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
- Clean Jar very well (it must be freshly washed for this)
- Place All Ingredients Except for the Carrots and Cauliflower into a small pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes.(make sure you have a fan on, or the vinegar smell may just bowl you over, it can be overpowering smelling while it’s boiling, but it will actually be very mild when you go to eat it. don’t worry)
- Let brine rest for 5 minutes off of the heat. (we don’t want it to be too hot or the veggies will just get too soggy)
- Cut cauliflower and carrots into pieces and place in the freezer for 5-7 minutes (we want them super cold, but not frozen, this is so that they stay very crisp and are not cooked too much by the hot brine we will be pouring over them)
- Pack the Carrots and Cauliflower tightly into the jar, alternating layers, until you can’t fit another piece in the jar (leaving just a bit of room at the neck of the jar, of course)
- Set the Jar, now veggie filled, into an empty sink and place a small mesh strainer over the neck of the jar.
- Using an oven mitt, carefully pour the still-hot brine into the strainer, and thus into the jar until the jar is full of brine.
- You may have some brine left over, that’s ok.
- Fish one bay leaf and a few peppercorns and 2-3 halves of garlic from the strainer and place them in the jar.
- Put the lid on the jar securely and gently shake the jar, upside down for about a minute
- Place in the fridge to cool.
- Enjoy any time 3 hours after placing in the fridge. The veggies will soften the longer that it sits in the fridge. These will be good for 1-2 months in the fridge. Keep Refrigerated.