Quick Pickling with Chef Wingold

At Casa Del Barco, we love to reinvent traditional Mexican cuisine. And to call pickling “traditional” is an understatement. This method of food preservation has been around for thousands of years, and the reason we’re into it is that it really enhances the flavor of food.

Chef Wingold uses a “quick pickling” method for many of our menu items. Whereas traditional pickling typically extends shelf life of the food for up to a year, quick pickling requires refrigeration and is mainly used to rapidly infuse and improve flavor. And yes, the quick part means you can--and should--do this at home!

To show you the pickling process, Chef Wingold and Lead Cook, Jasmine, prepared Casa Del Barco’s Nopale Cactus curtido. A curtido is an El Salvadorian slaw that is traditionally made up of pickled carrots, onions and cabbage. For this particular Casa Del Barco recipe, we are using this classic veggie blend with the addition of sliced Nopale cactus leaves. Each of these ingredients are pickled separately to retain their bright, individual colors. Once cooled, the excess liquid is strained out and the vegetables are mixed together to create a vibrant and delicious pickled salad that is used to top our barbacoa tacos.

Ready to try quick pickling?

You’ll need:

  • 2 quarts apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 pounds of prepared vegetables

Start by bringing apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, star anise, and bay leaves to a rolling boil on the stovetop.

Prepare the vegetables by cleaning, cutting and packing them into containers. 

For most of the veggies you might want to you use, demo probably isn’t necessary. If you want to try working with cactus though, Chef Wingold made a video. Check it out the video: Man vs. Cactus.

Once the pickling liquid has reached the boiling point, ladle it over the prepared vegetables.

Cap the container and place patty paper (wax paper cut to fit your container would work just fine) on top to keep the vegetables completely submerged in the liquid.

Once the liquid has reached room temperature, it is pickled and ready to eat or store in the refrigerator for up to a month! Happy pickling!

If you’re content to let us do the pickling, that’s ok too. Our barbacoa tacos are as good as they look! 

Stay tuned for more how-to's of house-made ingredients at Casa Del Barco. 

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