quick pickled vegetables and fried capers – game changing garnishes

pickled vegetables

More often than not the final hit of flavour is the thing that transforms a meh dinner into something amazing. Adding a hit of acid and some crunch to dishes are two of my most used tricks when I’m cooking. I make these pickled vegetables or fried capers when I want my food to taste restaurant worthy and I’m short on time.

My speedy pickling method was a bit of a revelation, before I tried this I always thought pickling was something owned bearded hipsters or grannies. Now I add pickled veggies (red cabbage, radishes, cucumber, cauliflower, onions) to all sorts of dishes and always have a few bowls or jars in the fridge where they’ll sit happily in their pickling liquid for ages.

I love these pickles and capers with anything but particularly with my smoked fish pâté or my chicken liver pâté. They are also fabulous alongside chunks of avocado on toast or to top rice, avocado and noodle bowls.

with pate

with pâté

Quick pickled veg ingredients:

1 – 2 cups of your choice of thinly sliced veg – I like carrots, rainbow cauliflower, radish and red cabbage as they turn beautifully neon. You will need to pickle them separately to keep their vivid colors

pickling liquid:
1 cup water
half a cup white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon each of sea salt and black pepper
optional – a star anise, a teaspoon of coriander seeds or fennel seeds, a whole chili

To make:

1. Set a small pan with the pickling liquid ingredients in, and a lid on, over a high heat. If making a range of pickles separately you will need to increase the pickling liquid ingredients

2. Slice the vegetables as thinly as you can. I use my box grater slicer or speed peeler to get thin coins or ribbons. Then put them in a small bowl

3. When the picking liquid starts bubbling, take it off the heat and pour it over the bowl of veg. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes or as long as you want. When cool, pop into the fridge where they’ll sit happily in their pickling liquid for ages – no need to put them in a jar but you will want to put a lid on the bowl

Fried capers
I love these acidic, salty, crunchy morsels and have started adding them to all sorts of things. I love them with cooked fish or tossed through a salad, soup or pasta. I also serve them on their own with drinks see my cocktails here.

To make:
Simply, drain your capers then dry them on kitchen towel. Heat a couple of tablespoons of canola or safflower oil in a saucepan until quivering then add the capers. Stand back as they may spit. Cook them on high for around 2 minutes, moving them gently with a spoon. Then when they are light brown and dry, drain them on paper towel. Use them immediately so they don’t lose their crunch.


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