When T and I lived in Brooklyn, one of our favourite things to do was to amble around the borough on weekend mornings. He’d tuck the Times under one arm, me under another, and off we’d go in search of food and coffee. One Saturday we ended up at Brooklyn Sandwich Society (now reincarnated as Martha). We ordered a mushroom skillet, which was delicious, but the real standout was a small jar of pickled jalapeños that our server set down on our table. Not too spicy, slightly tangy, and with just a hint of sweetness…by the end of our meal, we had consumed two jars worth.
I’ve since pickled countless pounds of jalapeños and eat them with everything, including nothing at all. I feel like one big Brooklyn stereotype! We may have moved out of the borough now, but every time I reach for a jar of this stuff I think, “You can’t take the borough out of the girl.”
Adapted from David Chang’s masterpiece: Momofuku
This recipe is as adaptable as it is easy. Add a squeeze of lemon, some coriander seeds, a couple cloves of garlic — anything, really. The one non-negotiable, though, is unseasoned rice vinegar. Avoid the distilled white stuff; it’s just too caustic.
Also, wear gloves when handling hot peppers! I always forget — that is, until I take my contacts out at night. Believe me, you’ll wish you had remembered then, too!
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
3 jalapeños, thinly sliced
Combine the first three ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar and salt dissolve and the solution begins to bubble. Pack jalapeños into an air-tight glass container. Cover with brine, close lid, and refrigerate. They’ll be ready in an hour, but will taste even better if you let them sit for a few more. Most will keep for up to a month, if you have that much self-restraint.