Quick Pickled Carrots Scented with Lavender and Fennel

A variation on a quickle, this uses a hot brine to soften up the carrots a little. I enjoy using lavender in savory dishes, and find lavender and fennel go well together.

2 cups vinegar, rice or white wine
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt, crushed
1 teaspoon culinary lavender
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bunch Chantenay carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch thick coins

Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil until the sugar and salt disappear, then add the fennel seed, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper. Boil 1 minute.

Add the lavender and the carrots, and boil 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Cover the carrots and refrigerate until cold. If you are going to keep the carrots for more than a day or two, remove the carrots from the solution and strain the solution and discard the herbs and spices before returning the carrots to the solution. This will keep the lavender from becoming overwhelming.

Remove carrots from solution and drain before serving. Carrots should keep around 2 weeks.

Chef’s Notes:
If you like a more vinegary pickle, decrease the water to 1/2 cup. If you like them a little sweeter, increase the sugar content up to 1 cup. You could try adding other vegetables such as blanched (par cook them 1 minute) and peeled pearl onions, or the white parts of scallions to the mix.

YIELD: Serves 4

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