Graze for the holidays

Counter the briny flavors of the pickled foods — Quick-Pickled Carrots with Chiles and Cumin, Pan-Roasted Marinated Mushrooms and Sweet-and-Tangy Relish — with fresh crudités like cucumbers and fennel, crackers and cheese.

Say hello to the relish tray — again.

Take the classic party spread of pickled dishes, popular in the Betty Draper (“Mad Men”) era, and re-imagine it as a lighter, brighter Thanksgiving appetizer, pairing fresh, unexpected flavors with rich cheese and buttery crackers.

Make the recipes a day (or more) ahead, and spend cocktail hour mingling instead.


12 ounces peeled baby carrots

1 shallot, sliced

3 dried chiles de arbol

½ cup apple-cider vinegar

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Cook baby carrots in a pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes; drain and place in a heatproof shallow container.

In a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour brine over carrots to cover. Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and as long as 5 days. Remove from brine to serve.

Active time: 10 minutes; total time: 4 hours, 15 minutes, plus cooling; makes 4 servings.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound mixed mushrooms, sliced

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 garlic cloves, smashed

2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until bottoms are golden brown, 3 minutes. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms are golden all over, about 5 minutes more (if browning too quickly, reduce heat). Add butter, garlic, herbes de Provence, sherry vinegar and soy sauce; cook 30 seconds.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in oregano; drizzle with more oil. Let stand at least 1 hour, or refrigerate, covered, for as long as 2 days. Serve at room temperature.

Active time: 15 minutes; total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes; makes 4 servings.


¼ cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

¼ cup Peppadew peppers

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons pimiento-stuffed olives, chopped

2 tablespoons Genoa salami, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Kosher salt, to taste

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Combine artichoke hearts and peppers with capers, olives and salami. Stir in lemon juice, olive oil, parsley and cilantro. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve at room temperature with butter crackers, or refrigerate, covered, for as long as 2 days.

Active/total time: 10 minutes; makes 4 servings.

More recipes and additional tips may be found online at Questions or comments may be sent to