Pickled Jalapeños (Escabeche)

During a trip to Tulum, Mexico we had a chance to enjoy an excellent escabeche at a great little restaurant called Don Cafetos.

Most escabeches are little more than pickled peppers and maybe a carrot or two. Don Cafetos’ escabeche was a meal unto itself – onions, carrots, peppers, garlic, green beans, potatoes…

This is my attempt to duplicate this recipe using our recent jalapeño crop. It makes a tasty appetizer with tortilla chips, or great as a side with almost any barbecued meat.

  • 1 pound jalapeño, stems removed and sliced into large chunks
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 3-4 small yellow potatoes, quartered
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into large chunks
  • 1 dozen green beans, halved
  • 4-5 carrots, sliced into large chunks
  • 5-6 whole cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 whole bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Peanut oil
  • Enough white vinegar to cover the vegetables

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a hot skillet. Working in small batches, briefly saute all of the vegetables. You’re not looking to brown them, just to soften them a little and release the aromatics. Add more oil as needed until all of the vegetables are done. As each batch finishes, put them into a medium stock pot.

Cover the vegetables with the vinegar. Add the salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, and sugar and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to glass jars. You can use several caning jars, or one big old pickle jar like I did. Try to fill the jars to within 1/2 inch of the top.

Once the vegetables are removed, return stock pot to the stove and bring the vinegar and juices that are left in the pot to a boil. Then carefully ladle the hot liquid into the jars, covering the vegetables to within a quarter inch of the top.

Let jar(s) cool without the lid on. Then seal and refrigerate at least six weeks for the flavor to develop. Keep refrigerated and use within six months.