This is my version of a common side dish in local mexican restaurants: mildly spicy, toothsome vegetables in a balanced light brine. I make mine with carrots, cauliflower, jicama, and jalapenos.
This is a great recipe to make in the winter, as these vegetables are all readily available. These will last for several weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!
Spicy Marinated Vegetables
6 large carrots
1 medium head cauliflower
8 cloves garlic
1 small jicama
2 cups cider vinegar
5 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
about 20 whole black peppercorns
1 onion, peeled and sliced (optional)
Start by prepping the vegetables. For the carrots, peel and then cut on the diagonal into bite sized pieces. Peel the jicama root and slice into 1/4 inch rounds, then into bite size wedges. Cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. Slice the jalapeños into small slices. Peel the garlic cloves and rough chop them. Set aside.
Fill a medium sauce pan with 4 inches of water. When the water comes to a boil, add the carrot slices and boil for 3 minutes. Then add the cauliflower pieces and boil for an additional 3 minutes. The goal is to have the vegetables crisp-tender. They will continue to soften just a little after cooking, so be sure to not over cook them. Drain the carrots and cauliflower in a colander and set aside.
To the now empty pan add four cups water, vinegar, salt, and peppercorns. Heat until just beginning to simmer. Take the pan off the stove. To the hot brine add the cooked carrots and cauliflower, jicama, jalapeño slices, chopped garlic, (sliced onion, if using) and olive oil. Mix to combine, then cover and set aside on the counter or in the fridge. When cooled to room temp, transfer the whole thing — vegetables and brine — to a glass or plastic covered container and put in the fridge.
These vegetables are ready to eat immediately, but will taste best if allowed to sit in the liquid for a day or two before serving. Store for up to three weeks (maybe longer, if they seem to be in good shape) in the fridge.