Ever since I attended the Herb Symposium last month, I’ve been on the lookout for herbs to add to my collection. The other day I found this Mexican Oregano, with its pretty orchid-colored blossoms:
I’ve always had a pot of oregano among my herbs, but it was either Greek or Mediterranean. This was the first time I had seen, or at least noticed, Mexican oregano. Unlike the grayish-green rounded leaves of the other varieties, this one had bright green, pointed leaves:
I can’t wait to use it in a recipe, and those flowers are going to make a pretty garnish.
Oregano is used frequently in Mexican recipes, and one that we really love is Ninfa’s Carrot Relish. These pickled carrots were always on the table at Ninfa’s, along with the restaurant’s legendary red and green salsas. The recipe appeared in the Houston Chronicle years ago, and I’ve made it many times since. One time, my Dad threw some leftover cauliflower into the warm brine, and it was so good, that he declared, “I don’t know why you would ever make it any other way.” Gotta agree with you, Dad — it is even better with the cauliflower!
|NINFA'S CARROT RELISH WITH CAULIFLOWER|| || |
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 12 chiles de arbol
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 pound carrots, peeled, diagonally sliced ⅛" thick
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- ¼ cup thinly sliced onion
- 3 ounces canned pickled jalapenos
- Place water, oil, and vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add chiles, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add oregano, cumin, pepper, salt, and sugar and simmer 5 minutes longer. Add carrots, onion, cauliflower, and jalapenos, and simmer approximately 10 minutes, or until carrots have reached desired consistency (they should be relatively firm). Transfer to jar, allow to cool, then refrigerate.
Why would you ever make it without cauliflower?