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Pickled Shallots in Pineapple Vinegar

I'm enjoying David Tanis' new book Market Cooking. At first glance, it's a little disappointing. Market fresh seasonal vegetables blah blah blah. Haven't we heard this a million times before? Maybe. And some of the recipe may seem basic but as you dig deeper, it's some of the more obvious things that mean the most. Shallots in vinegar. So what? Well, I did have a bag of shallots. What the hell? I decided to get wildly creative and add some Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio and instead of wine or sherry vinegar, I used our pineapple vinegar. This might make Tanis cringe but it might make him smile. Either way, it was delicious and I've been using it on everything and even two days later, there's still a good crunch form the shallots. Shallots, pineapple vinegar, salt, Oregano Indio, pepper. Macerate for about 20 minutes and you've got something nice. I served these at Thanksgiving and while I'm a fan of traditional gravy, or at least I think I am, I much prefer the brightness of a pickle like this. The rest of the book is similar. Some of it is obvious to a seasoned cook but more often than not, it's a gentle reminder about which things go together and how to keep out of the ingredient's way. I've never met David Tanis (we have mutual friends) but I think every American needs to master this book and his other two before they start to make fussier food. Making fussy, "chef-y" food is fun, but so many of us have ignored the basics for the sake of novelty. This book is here to help.

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