Simple and Versatile
by Paul Virant
Pickled fennel is one of my favorites, it was one of the first pickles on the menu at Vie in August of 2004.
Paul Virant’s Pickled Fennel
- 3 cups champagne vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 bulbs fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
Yield: 4 pints
In a pot, bring the vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil. Keep hot. In a dry sauté pan over medium heat, toast the coriander and fennel seeds and red pepper flakes.
Scald 4 pint jars in a large pot of simmering water fitted with a rack – you will use this pot to process the jars. Right before filling, put the jars on the counter. Divide the spices among the jars, adding just over a teaspoon per jar, then pack the jars with fennel, using about 5 ounces per jar. Meanwhile, soak the lids in a pan of hot water to soften the rubber seal.
Transfer the brine to a heat-proof pitcher and pour over the fennel, leaving a ½-inch space from the rim of the jar. Check the jars for air pockets, adding more brine if necessary to fill in gaps. Wipe the rims with a clean towel, seal with the lids, then screw on the bands until snug but not tight.
Place the jars in the pot with the rack and add enough water to cover the jars by about 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil and process the jars for 15 minutes (start the timer when the water reaches a boil). Turn off the heat and leave the jars in the water for a few minutes. Remove the jars from the water and let cool completely.