The Scuttlebutt

By • June 4, 2014 • 7 Comments

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Author Notes: Don't be deterred by all of the steps and ingredients here! (Seriously, come back. We have sandwiches.) Every component of this sandwich can be prepared a day or two (or more) ahead of time, which makes it perfect for a party, or a big messy lunch with friends.

As for the pickles, use whatever in-season vegetables you like, but the beets are pretty key to the DNA of this sandwich. In the summer, Caroline Fidanza -- the recipe's author -- uses fresh tomatoes and basil; in winter, it's roasted roots and chiffonaded kale. Go crazy.

Adapted slightly from Saltie: A Cookbook (Chronicle, 2012)
Marian Bull

Makes 8 to 10 (very) large sandwiches

For the Pickles + Salad

  • 1 bunch beets (about 5 or 6)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 whole star anise pods, broken up
  • 8 whole allspice berries
  • ---
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled and very thinly sliced into rounds or on a bias
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 2 árbol chiles
  • ---
  • 2 heaping cups of fresh herbs (I like mint, parsley, and dill), picked
  • A few scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • A few radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup pitted, oil-cured black olives
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Note: To make these sandwiches a little easier, you can buy store-bought pickled vegetables; ideally, I'd go with something local, that you know has been pickled with care. And look for beets. If you're feeling brave, though, read on; making them at home is worth it.
  2. For the beet + onion pickles: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Put the beets in a roasting pan, add just enough water to the pan to evenly cover the bottom. Salt the beets with 1 tablespoon of salt and drizzle them with olive oil. Cover with foil and roast for about an hour, until they're tender when pierced with a knife. Let them cool, then peel the beets -- I like to use the foil, but you can also use your fingers or a paring knife. Cut them into 1/4-inch slices and put them in a large heatproof bowl with the sliced onions.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the red wine vinegar, water, sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, plus the peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard, anise, and allspice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the brine over the beets and onions, then let them cool at room temperature. Transfer them to a plastic or glass container, cover them, and refrigerate for at least a day. They'll last up to 2 months.
  4. To make the carrot pickles: Place the sliced carrots in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, combine the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, kosher salt, coriander, fennel, and the chiles. Boil, stir, and pour over the carrots. Cool them, then store in the fridge for at least a day, and up to 2 months.
  5. When you're ready to make your sandwiches, grab about a cup of carrot pickles, and about 2 cups of the beet-onion pickles. Flick off any spices that cling, then thinly slice the beets and carrots. Toss your pickles with the herbs, radishes, capers, and olives, and add a drizzle of oil to hold everything together.

To assemble the sandwiches:

  • 1 batch focaccia: https://food52.com/recipes/28786-saltie-s-focaccia
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups pimentón aioli: https://food52.com/recipes/28813-pimenton-aioli
  • 8 to 10 eggs
  • 8 to 10 ounces feta
  1. Boil your eggs: Boil water, then add the eggs and boil for 10 minutes. Transfer immediately to an ice bath, let them cool, then peel them and slice them thinly.
  2. Slice your feta, if you can. Then assemble your sandwiches! Slice the focaccia into sandwich-sized pieces. For each sandwich, smear one slice of bread with about a tablespoon of aioli, then layer on a sliced egg and a slice of feta. Top with a handful of that beautiful salad. Cover it all with the second piece of bread, and serve immediately, with glee.
Jump to Comments (7)

Tags: beets, capers, carrots, cheese, eggs, feta, focaccia, olives, pickles, saltie, sandwich

Comments (7) Questions (0)

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4 months ago sunny

Just wondering if the carrot pickle recipe is supposed to call for a 1/2 cup of salt. Thanks!

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4 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

It is! I know it sounds a little crazy, but that's what's printed in the Saltie cookbook. They're pretty salty pickles, but mixed with everything else here, they work.

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4 months ago sunny

Okay. Thanks very much.

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4 months ago Sara Jane

Do the carrot pickles have sugar in the recipe? It includes sugar in the directions but not in the list of ingredients.

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4 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

Yes, one cup! Updating that now.

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4 months ago CFrance

Is there something to substitute for the beets? Love the sound of this recipe but absolutely cannot stomach beets.

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4 months ago Marian Bull

Marian is Food52's Associate Editor.

Yes, you can really add whatever types of pickles you like here! Radishes, cucumber, etc -- you can even use fresh vegetables, like tomatoes when they're in season.