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Sep 01, 2014
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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By the Book: John Besh’s Quick Pickled Radishes

May 29th 01:05pm, 2012

As we continue with our James Beard-themed By the Book series this month, we move on to a celebrity chef who’s known as much for his southern good looks as he is for his southern-style cuisine. I first experienced John Besh’s cooking a few months ago on a trip to New Orleans. For brunch, a large group of us headed to Lüke, Besh’s brasserie-style restaurant in the Central Business District of The Big Easy. Everything was divine, from the French press coffee to the famous, thick and smoky Allan Benton bacon to the decadent Eggs In a Jar: creamy cheese grits topped with deep-fried soft-shell crab, a balloon-like poached egg and a hefty dousing of creamy hollandaise, all layered into an adorable Mason jar. (Put anything in a jar and I’ll order it.)

So when I saw that Besh’s new book, My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking (nominated for a 2012 Beard Award) was up for grabs this month, it was an obvious choice.

In my next life, I’m going to have a lot of free time. I’ll bake beautiful loaves of Old World bread, pickle the fresh produce I nabbed at the farmers market that week and make jar after jar of fresh jellies and preserves. In this life of never-ending deadlines and dog walking and house cleaning, however, I’ll have to settle for the occasional quick pickling.

As with so many recipes in his book, Besh provides a basic recipe and then offers several ingredient options. For this quick-pickling method, he recommended using baby carrots, beets or radishes. Since I had just picked up four bundles of fresh radishes at the Clayton Farmers Market, I figured I’d pickle two and reserve the other two for this amazing recipe (Try not to get addicted to it; I dare you.).



The recipe was simple and straightforward. Peel the veggies, blanch them, pour the pickling spices into the cooking liquid and then combine everything in a sanitized jar. Besh suggested either using a tablespoon of the Zatarain’s crab boil seasoning or a teaspoon each of mustard seed, coriander seed and black peppercorns. Ever a fan of the harder-is-better route, I decided to go for the individual spices. But after visits to three different grocers and no whole coriander seed to be found, I gave in and bought the pre-mixed spice pack. Suddenly, a simple recipe became even easier.




If you’re anything like me and don’t have the time (or patience) to juice fruit, let bread rise or give pickled veggies the time they need to work their magic in the fridge, Besh’s recipe is a quick and easy way to dip your toe into the DIY pool.



Quick Pickled Vegetables
Makes 1 quart

I like to use this process to pickle carrots, radishes and beets and have come to prefer the texture of these homemade pickles to anything store-bought. The vegetables are blanched for a moment, leaving them still crisp. Although these pickles taste wonderful alone, they are so beautiful I frequently use them as a way to elevate many dishes, especially the Vietnamese-inspired recipes in this book.

½ tsp. salt
1 lb. baby carrots, radishes or beets, peeled
1 cup sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. Zatarain’s Crab Boil seasoning or 1 tsp. each of mustard seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns

• In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil along with the salt.
• Add the peeled vegetables and blanch for no longer than 2 minutes. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon.
• Add the sugar, vinegar and spices to the pot and bring just to a boil.
• Fill canning jars with the blanched vegetables and pour in enough cooking liquid to fill the jars.
• Cool, then cover and store in the refrigerator where they’ll last for a couple of weeks.

From My Family Table by John Besh/Andrews McMeel Publishing

What’s your favorite vegetables to pickle and how do you do it? Tell us about your favorite pickling recipe in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of My Family Table by John Besh. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Claire, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Cooking with Chocolate: Essential Recipes and Techniques. Claire, keep an eye out from the Sauce crew.

 

 

By Stacy Schultz

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4 Responses to “By the Book: John Besh’s Quick Pickled Radishes”

  1. Julie Says:
    May 29th, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    My favorite pickling recipe is for pickles that you can do in the microwave! It’s so easy and can be cut down to accommodate however many cucumbers you have to use up.

  2. Sara S Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    My favorite thing to pickle is green tomatoes in the form of green tomato relish. This my great grandmothers recipe. It is an old fashioned recipe an is best with everything from the garden. The peppers especially have a much different taste than the ones from the grocery store. We usually make it right before the first freeze.

    Mimi’s Green Tomato Relish
    Use a hand grinder to grind together the following:

    1 dozen red peppers (sweet not hot)
    1 dozen green peppers
    6 medium sweet onions
    1 small hot pepper
    2 dozen green tomatoes

    Shred and chop finely 1 head of cabbage. Soak it in water for about 10 minutes and drain and squeeze in dish towel until dry.

    Mix all together in a large bowl and add:

    1 T. celery seed
    1 T. mustard seed
    1 tsp uniodized salt
    1 quart of white vinegar
    2 cups sugar
    Mix and place in clean jars. We do not process this but eat it within the next month or so. We love it on hamburgers and with a chuck roast.

    My current project is finding a good way to pickle Brussels sprouts ala the commercially available “frog balls”.

  3. Kimberly Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Oh my goodness … I was just in New Orleans over Memorial Day weekend, and we ate at Chef Besh’s Restaurant August on our first night … and it was so good, we went back on our last evening for a late night meal at the bar … we just had to experience it one more time … and I would love to win this cookbook!

    As for pickling, one of my favorite things to pickle are watermelon rinds. They make a fantastic tasting pickle … and I feel good utilizing all of the watermelon! I also have a bizarre penchant for pickled eggs … I’ve never made them myself, but you’ve inspired me to give them a go soon!

  4. cherie Says:
    June 4th, 2012 at 3:36 am

    I love to make kimchi out of napa cabbage or daikon! Using salt, rice flour, fish sauce, hot pepper flakes, onion, garlic, ginger, green onions, chives, a paste is made with these ingredients. After the cabbage or daikon is wilted with salt, everything is mixed together and placed in a jar to ferment. Yum!

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