Even though when I see one I nearly keel over with boredom, I’ll admit I sometimes fall prey to serving the ubiquitous crudite platter using the *most* uninspired vegetables.
Veggies always seem like an afterthought when you’re putting together an appetizer spread. And throwing in a store bought vegetable based antipasto seems to add insult to injury ; at my parties they are barely touched because quite honestly they are usually not all that good. They tend to be not only overcooked but are also so heavyhanded with the dressing and spices you can hardly tell what vegetable that is hiding underneath the glop!
So for our last get together I pickled my own vegetables and not only was it super easy but there is really no comparison between what you pickle yourself vs what you buy at the store. This simple method produces a very refined pickled vegetable and allows the true flavor of the vegetable to shine through (can you call an antipasto “genteel”??) I used vegetables I had on hand and the recipe below will reflect that. But you can use whatever you’d like, just be cognizant of the cooking times. Not all vegetables need the same amount of time to cook, even if they are cut to the same size. The goal is to cook them just until they are crisp/tender, test them with your fork if you’re not sure they’re done. Incidentally, I think this technique would make a great potato/vegetable salad and plan on giving that a whirl soon!
Like any salad, they are a bit vinegary which is notoriously difficult to pair with wine. One of the reasons I like a Sauvignon Blanc so much is its high acidity and herbal characteristics can really do a salad proud! Try pairing this with our Vignerons de Tutiac Quintet ($12) , a white bordeaux made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes. And has a screwcap to boot!
Simple Pickled Vegetables (makes btwn 2 – 3 quarts – will keep up to a week, refrigerated)
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 TBSP salt
3 cups cauliflower florets, cut into 1” pieces (about one small head)
3 cups carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ x ¼ x 2” strips (about 4 med carrots)
3 cups broccoli florets, cut into 1” pieces (about one small head)
¾ cup pitted , flavorful green olives (I used some bleu cheese stuffed olives I had on hand – WOW)
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Pour 3 quarts of water into a 5 quart pot , add vinegar and salt, bring to a boil. Add carrots, cook 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and broccoli, cook until all vegetables are crisp tender , about 3 more minutes. Drain vegetables well and transfer to large bowl. Let cool slightly. Season with salt, add the olives and toss well with the olive oil. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you simply MUST but I prefer these vegetables without. Let marinate at least one hour at room temp before serving.