Growing up, I always loved pickles. Especially “Bread & Butter” style ones, sweet and tart at the same time and I could eat a dozen in a sitting. During the summer my mom would make quick pickles with the cucumbers from our garden just sliced up with some rice wine vinegar (often a flavored one with dill or other herbs) and those were just as tasty. Now I’m finally moving on to other pickled vegetables. For the longest time I was dubious of pickled beets (were they really that color? Answer: yes) and other veggies as it just seemed that the texture would be really odd. But when we joined our CSA we would get beets, cucumbers, red onions, and oftentimes we weren’t quite sure what to do with them. I roasted the beets once, but then decided to be adventurous and try them pickled…they’re really tasty that way!
For a recent spring potluck meal I made pickled shredded beets, using our mandolin to shred the beets into matchsticks (and chopping the beet green stems as well) then concocting a pickling spice mix (I think I used this recipe from Williams-Sonoma) and combining that with equal parts rice wine and cider vinegar. I didn’t pre-cook the beets, just put them into the hot pickling liquid and that quick cooked them. They were a hit at the potluck so definitely will go on the roster to make again.
Another good pickled topping recently discovered is pickled red onions. We made the Salt Baked Herbed Salmon with Onion and Caper Vinaigrette from Food52’s Genius Recipes cookbook and the salmon turned out wonderfully flavorful and moist and the onion topping was one of my favorite parts of the dish. That sauce ended up on tacos, eggs, salads and anything else I could think to put it on as we were going through the leftovers.