The clearance rack at the grocery store is one of my favorite places. I know I’ve talked about this .49/lb rack-of-glory, but it never ceases to amaze me. Sure, I could go dumpster dive most of this produce later that night for free, but honestly, I don’t have time. .49/lb is a good enough bargain for me. This head of cauliflower was chilling there the other day so I thought it would be a great opportunity to test out a basil marinated recipe before the big heads were ready in the fields (although I have since learned that we won’t be planting any because they ‘are a pain in the ass’). Canning and drying are the main way I justify buying my produce in nearly-rotten-bulk. It gets eaten that night and what isn’t eaten is pickled, dehydrated, and frozen. This means that I when I decide to check out the clearance section I am committing the rest of my evening to being in the kitchen – not a bad thing at all.
Basil Marinated Cauliflower
One head makes about 4 16 oz jars, give or take (I reuse jars and tend to be inconsistent with the jar sizes I use per batch so the measurements are more of an estimate)
1 Head Cauliflower – cut into florets, washed and drained thoroughly
1/4 c White Wine Vinegar
1/4 c Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 c Water
1/2 T Pickling Salt
1 t Dijon Mustard
1 Red Shallot – finely minced. (I used 3 scallions, because they were readily available from the farm)
1 Garlic Clove – finely minced
1/2 c Basil leaves – rinsed and cut into strips
1 T Whole Black Peppercorns
Lightly blanch the florets and then let sit in a cold water bath while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Whisk together the vinegars, water, salt, and mustard in a small cook pot. Bring to a low simmer and add the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes. Remove the brine from the heat and add in the basil.
Drain the cauliflower well and pack the florets into jars, leaving 1″ of head space per jar. Divide the peppercorns evenly among the jars and toss in. I like to do this after I’ve added the veggies to my jars just in case I come up short on veggies and have prepped too many jars.
Pour the brine into each jar until it covers the cauliflower. At this point you can screw on the lids and set the jars in fridge overnight and serve as a salad the next day or you can process the cauliflower in a hot water bath for 10 minutes and enjoy as a pickled cauliflower later on in the season.