Put 'Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton, and my 3x renewal rate is a testament to the fact I want to make a lot of these recipes. Maybe I will invest in it down the road, but for now here is the first of a few small batch preserving recipes adapted from it.
The modifications I made are ultimately based on the fact I wanted the beans to have some good spiciness to them, and that I didn't quite have all the exact ingredients on hand. The book calls for using whole peppercorns, preferably Szechuan, but as those are absent from my current spice arsenal, I used black peppercorns and added some red pepper flakes for additional flavor. The original recipe also calls for dark sesame oil. I only had regular sesame oil, but then recalled my nearly finished jar of Spicy Sichuan Oil by Sue May from the October food swap. I was thrilled to have such a perfect use for it, so essentially split the oil needed between the two types I had in the pantry.
So far I can attest that these are perfect for an antipasti-like sandwich (think salami, sweet peppers and spicy beans) and as a topping for leftover rice cooked with egg, peppers, salt + pepper and hot sauce. I am sure they will end up garnishing a cocktail or two before they are gone too.
Szechuan Pickled Green Beans
Adapted from Put 'Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton
1 pound green beans, washed and tailed
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1.5 tablespoons sichuan oil
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into coins
1 large (or 2 small) garlic cloves, sliced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Wash and tail green beans. I left the tops on because I like the way it looks, but remove according to preference or to enable fitting well in the jar.
Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl while bringing a large pot of water to boil. Drop the beans into the boiling water (if multiplying the batch, do no more than 1 pound at a time) and return to a boil. Blanch for 1 minute and then drain into a colander. Place immediately into the ice water bath until completely cool, approximately 3-5 minutes. Once cool, pour into a colander again to drain.
Turn a quart jar on its side to make stacking the beans neatly inside easier.
Combine the vinegar, water, soy sauce, sugar, oils, peppercorns, ginger, garlic and pepper flakes in a nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1 minute. Pour the hot brine over the beans. Push them down as needed to ensure they are completely covered by the liquid. If not, heat a small amount of cider vinegar, water and sugar to top up jar.
Once cool, store in fridge for up to 1 month.