Yield: Makes 4 pints
In this somewhat unusual combination, crunchy carrots take on the lovely flavor of fennel. Use a mix of colored carrots—gold, orange, and red—if you can find them. The darker ones turn the brine a pretty shade of sunset pink.
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• Serve with grilled lamb chops or roast chicken.
• Finely dice and fold into a filling for deviled eggs.
• Chop and add to chicken salad.
The recipe calls for curing the pickles in the refrigerator, but if you’d rather make them shelf-stable until they’re open, you can process the vegetables in a hot-water bath. Though they will soften over time, the unopened pickles will keep for up to 1 year at room temperature. Simply follow these instructions for hot-water canning, processing the jars for 10 minutes.
You may have a fair amount of brine left over. Rather than tossing it, use it to make fennel-pickled eggs. Hard-boil and peel six medium eggs. Pack them snugly into a clean glass jar, and pour hot brine over them, making sure they’re completely submerged. Let cool, cap tightly, and refrigerate. Let the eggs cure for a couple of days before using, but eat within 1 week.
Why filtered water? Vegetables pickled in agrodolce pick up all of the flavors in the brine—that’s the whole point, after all. Because water is a main component of the brine, I recommend you filter your tap water or use bottled spring water. This way, you can be sure your pickles won’t take on any off flavors from municipal water-treatment chemicals, such as chlorine, or naturally occurring minerals in well water, like sulfur.
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