The Best Pickled Potatoes : Leibo’s Recipe

The Best Pickled Potatoes : Leibo’s Recipefeatured

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If you knock on the door at my house – most likely my father will answer it shirtless. Dad is hairy, Jewish-nosed and pot-bellied.He is stout and shorter than my mother. He is also always surrounded by women, and thus developed the ultimate lackadaisical attitude regarding life: to reliquish himself from the feminine chaos (never-ending, inexplicable) and ascend somewhere else. Picturing himself at the beach, donning a shameless Speedo and nursing a beer.

The Leibovitz’ as a general rule, don’t exercise. Eating is our sport – and between walking shirtless around the house, humming a little samba or listening to sports on the radio, Leibo (as we call him) is seen in a kitchen fog plotting the next meal. This is one of Leibo’s specialties, I suppose it is “bar food”. Once in a while, he’ll haul out from the cupboard the biggest jar imaginable. He’ll slowly make the pickle slurry – mostly oil, chili peppers, garlic, scallions and vinegar. He adjusts by taste. He’ll boil the little potatoes and while still warm, throw them in the pickle bath. I asked his thoughts on sterilizing the jar to which he responded, “Throw a little hot water on it, I guess…”

It is the Leibovitz’ way. A sort of mutation between the “Word hard. Play hard” motto and an intrinsic South American gene possibly evolved from sloths.  His will cannot be broken over stolen clothes, a run to buy tampons at the store, handling tiny strings of lace in the laundry piles, which his poor young daughters call undergarments. He pretends to forget our birthdays, our names, what grades we were in, what majors we had in university. He expresses the deepest emotions with a note that celebrates any and all occasions: by drawing a picture of a woman reading a newspaper on the toilet. I have this picture of a strange woman taking a dump to mark some of the most meaningful times of my life. But this recipe is also one of my favourite inheritances.

In truth, these  salty, garlicky and slightly spicy potatoes are the golden ticket to a Carpe Diem attitude I feel my Dad invented.They’re unassuming, even a little tacky to offer a guest. You pop the first one in your mouth and think nothing of it. Then it picks up a little rhythm, a kind of sluggish walk back and forth dipping into the oily jar. It slips a little, dribbles on your shirt. And maybe that’s it. Maybe that explains it…

Pickle Slurry
Pickled Potatoes

Leibo’s Pickled Potatoes

1 bag of small potatoes (or as many as you can fit in the jar)
2 garlic cloves (or more, to taste)
1/2 onion chopped finely
1 +1/2 tbs. red pepper flakes
1 chopped up chile pepper (or more to taste – make it hawt!)
chopped scallions
dill (I added this because I had it in my garden)
salt and pepper

Pickling Liquid:
One cup of oil, to every 1 cup of white vinegar. 1:1 ratio until you fill the jar.

Sterilize the jar. Or don’t. Leibo says the film of oil as it separates from the vinegar prevents anything from entering.
Boil your potatoes until you can stick a fork through them. Reserve some of the water.
In the large jar, where your spices are already measured out, put the potatoes in while still hot. Measure out the oil/vinegar solution and fill it to the top. If you don’t want to waste too much oil on the solution, you can mix in some of the water from boiling the potatoes.
Seal the jar. Allow 3 days at least for it to acquire flavour. Shake the jar whenever you can to infuse the potatoes. You can also leave it in a warm/sunny spot to maximize flavour.
Fish out the potatoes, sprinkle a bit of salt and eat them whole. Can also be smashed onto a fresh slice of baguette.
Enjoy with a cold beer.

Does your dad cook? What does he make? Tell me in the comments…I’d love to know!

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About the author


Here you will find food stories about the recipes I tackle in my kitchen. I promise to always be experimental. There may be food flops and poetic blunders. It’ll be reverse logic - good food that looks bad, bad food that looks amaaaazing, a solid try, a lazy attempt, a ton of stuff and little bits of nothing.

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