Pickled Carrots and Beets

I got the fabulous David Chang cookbook Momofuku for Christmas last year, and immediately read it cover to cover.  It’s a fascinating book – part memoir, part cooking philosophy, and part astonishingly complex recipes, all doused in a healthy dose of profanity and blog-post style writing.  If Adam Gopnik is right when he asserts that all recipes are (at essence) directives to “be like me,” nowhere is this more true than in Momofuku.  Some of the recipes read like a dare.  Like Chang is saying, “You really want to learn to cook like me?  Prove it.  I have an awesome recipe for pig’s head (complete with detailed photos).  You’ll love it.”
One of the things that Chang emphasizes in his book is how clever a good kitchen economy can be.  Chang explains straightaway how to use the detritus from one recipe to make something delicious in another, so that by the time you’ve read a few recipes, you can’t really imagine making only one.  With that said, sometimes it’s impossible to imagine making even one, with so many unusual ingredients as the stars.  Delicious though they may be, I am no more likely to incorporate roasted chicken backs into my routine than I am pigs’ heads.  And a stock that takes 8 hours to make will probably be made only rarely and in giant batches, if it ever gets made at all.

But finally last week, I decided that I was going to make an Asian soup, and figured that this was the time to try his pickle recipe.  By Momofuku standards, the recipe is as easy as it gets, which didn’t prevent me from messing it up.  Here’s the recipe:

1 C piping hot water
1/2 C rice vinegar
6 Tbs sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt

To that mix, you add very thinly sliced vegetables.  I chose to try it with carrots and beets and used my mandolin to get the veggies down to less than 1/8 inch, which was pretty good for the carrots, but still far too thick for the beets.  The beets need to be shaved, if you can manage to find some way to do that, or heat needs to be applied so that they can soften up a bit.  Also, as with so many recipes, it is a bad idea to mix beets with anything else unless you are comfortable with everything you are making taking on a rosy hue.  I ought to have separated the two veggies.  

Other than having pink carrots and too-hard beets, I actually liked the recipe, and will definitely make it again.  I like the concept of pickle garnished for dishes, and this is a quick and relatively simple way to use up the CSA share. 

About christianathomas

I'm a working mother of two trying to make eating well fit into our hectic lives. I also used to own a completely chaotic bakery. Follow me for tips and tricks on how to get more whole foods into your diet.
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One Response to Pickled Carrots and Beets

  1. Jet says:

    I love this book period THANK YOU. I now have a focus for the chicken backs and cups or bacon fat in the fridge. Also, all vegetables are future pickles here.

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