The recipe for this lacto-fermented mixed pickle is flexible: Use whatever vegetables happen to inspire you at the market, and feel free to tweak the seasonings. The benefit of using baby vegetables is not only aesthetic; because of their small size, they cure faster. Also because of their small size, and their sweet, mild flavor, we don't want to use too much salt in the brine: As a safeguard, we add just a bit of white wine vinegar. This recipe first appeared in our October 2011 issue.
- 1⁄3 cup packed dill fronds
- 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- 12 cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 dried chiles de árbol
- 1 1⁄2 lb. mixed baby vegetables, such as carrots, zucchini, eggplants, radishes, asparagus, green beans, or pearl onions
- 6 tbsp. kosher or sea salt
- 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 6 cups filtered water, warmed
In a sterilized 2-qt. glass jar, combine dill, peppercorns, garlic, and chiles de árbol. Place baby vegetables in the jar over aromatics. Dissolve salt and white wine vinegar in filtered water in a bowl to make a brine, and then pour over vegetables until covered. Pour any remaining brine into a resealable plastic sandwich bag, and place bag on top of vegetables to keep the vegetables submerged. Drape a large kitchen towel over the jar and let sit at room temperature (ideally 70°–75°) until vegetables have soured to your taste, about 3–4 weeks. Once pickles are cured, cover jar with lid, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.