I drink the brine on this one. I kid you not. This is a super old-fashioned pickle so self-consciously retro that it’s modern again—ready for its place on your Aunt Bitty’s relish tray alongside the three-bean salad and the pickled beets. Just FYI, I actually prefer frozen corn to fresh here because—well, forgive my shallowness, but frozen corn is just prettier than anything I’ve ever been able to cut off the cob, and the strong flavors in this mix don’t merit the extra effort. (Oh, and thanks to my intern, Sam, who showed me how awesome this is baked with salami on a pizza.) Note that it’s natural for the brine to get cloudy as the corn releases its starch.
Yield: Makes about 6 cups (3 pints)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3¾ cups diced red bell pepper (3 or 4 peppers)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1¾ cups diced red onion (1 very large onion)
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
1½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and salt and sauté for approximately 12 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers soften and begin to caramelize. Add the corn, stirring to combine, and cook the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes longer, until the corn is hot. Turn off the heat and add the onion to the pan; stir well.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, and turmeric and stir just until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
Pack the vegetables tightly into 3 clean pint jars, and pour the warm brine over the vegetables to cover completely, discarding any unused brine. To can the relish for longer storage, process the jars for canning. Otherwise, cover tightly, and let the relish sit at room temperature for 1 day before moving it to the refrigerator.
Refrigerated, this will keep for up to 6 months. Canned, it will keep for up to 1 year.