As I mentioned earlier, I recently traveled to San Francisco to visit an old friend. We did some sightseeing – and of course, we did some eating – and I think my favorite stop on the whole trip was at Tartine Bakery.
Everything we ordered at Tartine was spot on. The bread pudding was moist, but not soggy. The asparagus monsieur was the happiest of marriages: melty cheese, crunchy bread, and roasted asparagus. My Americano was a thing of perfection.
Its been a few weeks since my trip to SF, and I still catch myself daydreaming about the late afternoon “snack” we had a Tartine.
But you want to know something funny? The one thing that really stuck with me were the side of pickled carrots.
There was just something special about them. I think that part of the reason I loved them so much was the fact that they were unexpected. I didn’t know that when you ordered bready cheesy goodness that it came with a side of house made pickles. Let alone, spicy carrot pickles. They were crunchy and briny – with just the right amount of spice – and were the perfect compliment to an ooey gooey cheesy sandwich. I was in love. Which brings me to the subject of pickles…
If you don’t recall from last summer, I really love pickles. I love eating them, making them, blogging about them, etc. (See exhibits: A, B, C, D). I went a bit pickle crazy last summer, but I finally stopped posting pickle recipes after my sisters begged me to knock it off. Not every shares my obsession for pickles, I suppose.
But, the spicy pickled carrots at Tartine were amazing and they reminded me of how much I love all things pickled. So, then, when I got back home to Portland and saw a bunches of small carrots for sale at the farmer’s market – it seemed like fate. I snatched up bunches of the cute little carrots and took them home to make my very own spicy pickled carrots.
I have no idea how Tartine actually makes their carrot pickles, but I stumbled across Thomas Keller’s recipe for them and figured it would work nicely. I love that Keller adds a bit of curry powder into his pickle brine as it gives the brine a vibrant color, and adds an interesting flavor element. While Keller calls for a fresh jalapeno, I opted to use red pepper flakes as I like the color contrast and how the red pepper flakes stick to the carrot pickles to give an extra punch of spice.
Now, please, I beg of you: come to my house and help me eat some of these carrot pickles. I’ve been eating them like a crazy person and could use a little help. Please and thanks. :)
Spicy Pickled Carrots
(Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home)
10-15 small carrots (or larger carrots, cut into carrot sticks)
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Wash and trim carrots. If using small whole carrots, scrub, but leave whole.
In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, water, sugar, curry poweder and bay leaf to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and discard bay leaf.
Meanwhile, pack as many carrots (or carrot sticks) as you can into a sterilized jar. Pour chili flakes and mustard seeds into the jar. Pour hot pickling liquid over the carrots, until the jar is full. Seal and refrigerate. Should keep in the fridge for 1 month (or more).