We have a great taquiera in our neighborhood. Well, it’s tacos and burritos are pretty good, but what really rocks about it is its salsa/condiment bar. Now, I may be a wee smidge paranoid, but I swear that the cashiers and cooks there start wringing their hands and looking visibly worried when our asses show up. You see, about once a week, Double S and I go there for burritos and divide tasks with our eyes. One of us will order one wet chili verde burrito and a side of salsa and chips (Their chips are the shizznit, indeed!), and the other of us will hit the condiment bar with a job to do. Mainly, procuring some of their awesome green and red salsas, pickled red onions, pickled jalapenos, and the pièce de résistance, their pickled carrots, all for ourselves. I’m surprised the place stays in business with us living so close.
But anyway, those pickled carrots. Crunchy. Spicy. A perfect accompaniment to a burrito or a taco. I’ve been wanting to make these bad boys for awhile. I almost did last year, but was too busy canning carrots last February to take advantage of carrot season. I made a canned pickled carrot and jalapeno that has really grown on me, but that recipe decidedly does not have the crunchy, tangy goodness of fresh pickled carrots. Fun fact about that pickled carrot recipe: It’s my most viewed blog post ever. Why? I like to think it’s because of the fun videos, creative word play, topical content about the 2010 Winter Olympics, and hilarious comparison between figure skating’s Evan Lysacek and Ross from teevee’s Friends. But in reality, that post gets the hits because a LOT of people Google image search for pictures of Carrot Top and said Google image search leads them right to this here blog. I know, I know, I feel dirty. You needn’t rub it in.
So this year, in the spirit of my winter pickling project, I finally made pickled carrots, Mexican taqueria style. And you can too! Just score yourself a good amount of organic non baby carrots. Don’t you know that baby carrots are soaked in chlorine?
5 lbs carrots. Washed and peeled, then sliced on the diagonal, about 1/4″ thick. Is there anything you’ve been needing to ponder? Now’s the time. Career change? Relationship with your sibling? It takes a bit of time to peel 5 lbs of carrots, so get ponderin’!
6-8 yellow onions, sliced thin. I used my trusty mandolin.
5 T olive oil or other neutral oil
10 bay leaves
Lots of garlic. I used about 30 cloves. Peeled and sliced.
5 tsp peppercorns
3 T Mexican oregano
2 cups vinegar. I used half cider vinegar, half white vinegar. Feel free to use more, I thought this recipe could use a bit more tang.
10 tsp kosher salt
4 cups water
Fresh and/or pickled jalapenos. I used a jar (16oz) of pickled jalapenos and their brine. I also used about 2 fresh jalapenos, sliced.
1. Blanch sliced carrots in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and set in ice water. Set aside. I used this handy dandy canning blanching pot that Double S scored for me at a garage sale.
2. Heat oil in large pan, add bay leaves and saute for one minute to infuse oil with bay flavor. Add garlic cloves and onion slices, then peppercorns and oregano. Add fresh jalapenos at this point, if you are using them. Saute for a few minutes.
3. Add vinegar, salt, water and canned jalapenos and their brine, if you are using them. Bring to boil.
4. Put carrot slices in large bowl or directly into jars. The amount of veggies I used totaled one gallon jar and two pint sized jars. Thank gawd for our new used extra fridge for the garage! That thing is gonna be the Seattle Pickle Depository. Then pour brine directly onto carrots.
5. Let cool, then refrigerate.
Let these sit for about 4 weeks in the fridge, but I liked mine already after 10 days. Eat as a condiment with tacos, nachos, burritos and the like. Or toss into black beans and eat with rice.