This post comes to us courtesy of cookbook author and food writer Karen Solomon.
Let’s kick this thing off with some food, shall we? I love, love condiments — particularly the vinegary variety. It’s summer, and the corn has just been rocking off the cob. I offer to you my recipe for Sweet Pepper and Corn Relish, a super old-fashioned pickle so self-consciously retro that it’s modern again. It’s ready for a place on your Aunt Bitty’s relish tray alongside the three-bean salad and the pickled beets.
Just FYI, I often say to use frozen corn here because, well, forgive my shallowness, but frozen corn is just prettier than anything I’ve ever been able to cut off the cob. And frozen corn retains its starch better, making for a less cloudy brine. But when corn is as good as it is right now, how can you pass on fresh? Out of season, however, you are still a good person if you use frozen nibblets.
Try this relish on its own, on hot dogs, hamburgers and other grilled meat, baked with salami on a pizza, or — I swear this is good — eaten with cottage cheese. Note that it’s natural for the brine to get cloudy as the relish sits and the corn releases its starch.
Dig in, and let me know how you like it! Happy summer, ya’ll.
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
3 3/4 cups diced red bell peppers (3 or 4 peppers)
1 Tbs. kosher salt
4 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 3/4 cups diced red onion (1 very large onion)
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the bell peppers and salt and sauté, stirring often, until the peppers soften and begin to caramelize, about 12 minutes. Add the corn, stirring to combine, and cook the vegetables until the corn is hot, 3 to 4 minutes more. Turn off the heat and add the onion to the pan; stir well.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar and turmeric and stir just until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
Pack the vegetables tightly into 3 clean 1-pint jars, and pour the warm brine over the vegetables to cover completely, discarding any unused brine. To can the relish for longer storage, process the jars for canning. Otherwise, cover tightly, and let the relish sit at room temperature for 1 day before moving it to the refrigerator.
Refrigerated, this will keep for up to 6 months. Canned, it will keep for up to 1 year. Makes three 1-pint jars.
About the author: Karen Solomon is the author of Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It and Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It (Ten Speed Press). She has been a well-published food writer for over a decade. Her edible musings on the restaurant scene, sustainable food programs, culinary trends, food history, and recipe development have appeared in Vegetarian Times, Fine Cooking, Prevention, Yoga Journal, Organic Style, the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Zagat Survey: San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants, and elsewhere.