Monday, March 16, 2009

Escabeche (Mexican Pickled Stuff)

$6 for a jar of pickled veggies doesn't sound all that bad until I tell you that I'm going to eat it in one sitting.

I love pickles, and Mexican reigns #1 with escabeche.  Italian is a close 2nd with giardiniera.  Either one is a good side dish or snack, but that bottle's pretty much one serving, despite the label's claim of 14.

It Mexican places, I always hope for some good stuff besides salsa at the salsa bars, but it's usually just carrots, onions, and jalapenos..   At Rubio's it's just jalapenos.  Oh yeah, with a sliver of carrot per hundred jalapeno rings.  Why do they even bother with the carrots?

Enter Taco Mesa!  Last week at Taco Mesa, I had some amazing stuff.  Cauliflower, carrots, onions, garlic, chilies, spices, oil, vinegar.  Faced with a delicious bowl full of raw ingredients, merely mixed together into a heavenly pickly treat, I was forced to admit that there's really no way that it could be hard to make.  So, I decided to make my own.

Here's take one.

This tastes less blurry than it looks

Escabeche #1

Makes 1 or 14 servings

12 oz cauliflower
10 baby carrots
1 pasilla chili
8 bay leaves
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
lots of ground pepper
1 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

Get a saucepan that's big enough to hold all of the cauliflower and carrots, plus water.  Fill the pan with water about 3/4 of the way and bring it to a boil.

Cut the cauliflower into bite size florets.  Cut the carrots into strips or disks.  Add the cauliflower and carrots to the boiling water and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Drain.

Put the cooked veggies and all the rest of the stuff in a zip lock bag.  Squeeze the air out and seal the bag.  Refrigerate overnight or for a few days.  Eat in one or fourteen sittings.

Nutrition for one serving:  400 calories, 31g Fat, 25g Carbs, 5g Fiber, 2g Protein.


Nutrition for one serving:  29 calories, 2.5g Fat, 2g Carbs, 0g Fiber, 0g Protein.


  1. Okay. I'm intrigued. I do so love giardinara. Although I love Mexican food, I have never had the Mexican pickled stuff. I'm going to try this recipe over the weekend. I'll let you know what I think on Monday.

  2. I stopped for cauliflower and made your recipe today. I threw in small quartered white onions. I also added celery. While the veggies were cooking, I mixed up the spices and they smelled wonderful! I added the olive oil and vinegar and the vegetables to the bag, and couldn't resist trying one. Even though the spices have not 'blended' and the pepper has not permeated the mix with its heat, I can already tell that these are going to be a very popular thing at my house. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. PS I added a clove of garlic. Just because you mentioned it in the body of your article.

  4. Glad you're having fun with it, so far.

    Since I did this, I've also pickled carrots (like the traditional Mexican shops do). Just cut them up and blanched them, pickling in the same spices, but no oil at all. I stuck some onions and a super hot pepper in there, too. Came out really good.

    I also did some asparagus tips (just long enough to fit in a 16oz wide mouth canning jar) with some vinegar, salt, pepper, coriander seeds, and bay leaves.

    BTW, I keep all my pickles in the fridge and consume them in about a week. I'm not a canner! Don't stick my recipes in the cellar and hope to eat them over the winter! ;)

  5. I haven't canned for a while. That's why I liked your recipe. No canning involved. Now that it's just Tim and I, I freeze everything. But now you've got me spinning off on another tangent. I do love asparagus...


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