A few years back at one of MoAD’s galas, the museum auctioned off a private dinner curated by me. To make the meal, I hired my buddy Isaiah Martinez—a super-talented Afro-Caribbean chef now working in Eugene, Oregon. I had my friend Jaynelle—owner of Pietisserie—make pies for dessert, and I brought on the homie DJ Max Champ to spin records. The whole event was fresh, and Isaiah killed the food. Included in his Afro-Caribbean feast was pikliz, a condiment in Haitian cuisine made of pickled cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, and Scotch bonnet peppers. This brilliant combination of quick-pickled vegetables adds acid and heat to enhance flavor and punch up dishes from rice to rich stews. I pretty much incorporate pikliz in meals throughout the week these days.
2 cups finely chopped green cabbage
2¼ teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup ¼-inch diced white onion
½ cup ¼-inch diced peeled carrot
½ cup ¼-inch diced, seeded green bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced seeded Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, or to taste
1 cup white vinegar
¼ cup fresh navel orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Combine the cabbage and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a large bowl. With clean hands, massage the cabbage until soft and wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander set in the sink and rinse the bowl. Put a plate on top of the cabbage and weight it down (a 28-ounce can of tomatoes works well for this). Let sit for 1 hour.
Rinse the cabbage under cold water, then squeeze with clean hands to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the cabbage back to the bowl. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, garlic, chile, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. With clean hands, gently mix everything, then transfer to a sterilized 1-quart canning jar . Pour in the vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, and ¼ cup water, adding more water as needed to ensure the vegetables are completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 days to allow the flavors to develop before enjoying. It should keep for up to 1 year refrigerated.