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Quick Pickled Fennel


2 bulbs fennel, stalks and fronds removed
1 large shallot, shaved on a mandoline or sliced thinly as possible
1 ½ cups hot water
½ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons salt
1/3 cup sugar
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. Split the fennel bulbs through the root and trim away most of the core. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, slice the bulb across the width very thinly, 1/8-inch or thinner. Put the fennel into a non-reactive bowl and sprinkle lightly with the salt, tossing with the fingers to get the salt all over the fennel. Use just enough salt to get all of the fennel. Toss to separate all the slices of fennel and work the salt in a little. You should feel the slices begin to wilt a little. Set aside for 8 minutes.
  2. After 8 minutes, place the fennel into a strainer and thoroughly rinse. Taste the fennel-there should be no salt remaining on the outside, and the flavor should not be overly salty either. A little saltiness is okay.
    Add the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a small pot. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, pack the shaved fennel, shallot, garlic, peppercorns, orange zest and red pepper flakes into a large sterilized jar, a quart jar should be big enough.
  4. After the brine is done, slowly pour into the jar to completely cover the fennel. You may have extra brine. Run a chopstick or a knife down around the edges of the jar to release any air bubbles and top off with additional brine, if needed. Let the jar cool to room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill completely. The fennel is best if you give it a full day to pickle before digging in.
  5. Signs of cloudiness or a bad smell hint that the pickle is no longer good to eat but it should keep well refrigerated for a few months.