We’ve talked about making quick pickles before. They really are a standout addition to any summer meal.
A new twist on the proverbial blanched first step that adds a burst of flavor is to roast the vegetables before blending.
A mixture of colors, textures and flavors is what makes quick marinated vegetables come to life.
Select everyday vegetables always on hand like carrots, beans, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes to get started. Seek more variety with exotic or interesting fare in purple or orange cauliflower, okra, shallots, artichoke hearts, fennel and baby squashes.
Up the ante on heat by adding locally sourced serrano or jalepeno peppers or whole peeled garlic cloves for some desired “umph”.
The more the merrier tact works well when assembling a complex plate of crunch, spice and acidity. Vinegar choices always bring us up to speed on the latest and tastiest available.
Colorful pickled vegetables make a great addition to an antipasto-like platter of cheeses and meats, but they fit nicely in other dishes like salads and rice or pasta plates. They make splendid toppers for summer sandwiches and grilled sausages.
For the marinade, flavor with juniper berries, cloves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, whole star anise, or bay leaves — to name a few favorites.
Once the cut up vegetables have bathed sufficiently in the brine (30 minutes minimum), remove them to a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Save the reserved marinade for adding later to roasted pickles.
A drizzle of olive oil prior to putting the veggies in a preheated grill or oven helps them caramelize while roasting. Cooking until tender requires only about 20 minutes.
Once tender, remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add any fresh, chopped herbs or diced celery or even celery leaves as desired. Toss with the remaining marinade to coat the newly roasted bites.
Italians use the term “giardiniera” or “from the garden” to describe the satisfying marriage of marinated quick vegetable pickles. This is an easy technique for anyone to perfect. Make good use of farmers’ market picks or garden grown favorites.
Serve the R & B (roasted and blended or roasted and brined) pickles as a tangy summer side. Pile them high on burgers or stuff them in pitas. Better yet, save them in the fridge for a cool snack all by themselves. No need to share.