Remember sandwich spreads?

For those of you who don’t or, better yet, for those of you who don’t have the slightest idea what I’m talking about, sandwich spread is mayonnaise whipped with tangy pickle relish. It’s a Filipino favorite that can jazz up any mundane sandwich and give it the oomph it so rightfully deserves.   I grew up with sandwich spread but — my apologies to the sandwich-spread-loving community — absolutely hated it.

I can trace my aversion for sandwich spread back to my aversion for vinegar when I was a kid.  I say “when I was a kid” because I no longer loathe vinegar. I am happy to report that I triumphantly overcame my aversion for vinegar and everything vinegary at some point in my adult life (which I will recount soon.) I detested the smell of vinegar, more than anything. It was piercing and pungent and I simply couldn’t stand it. I didn’t care for vinegar and I didn’t care for relish-laden sandwich spread, too.

So you can probably imagine, you sandwich-spread-ophiles, that my sandwiches were plain and boring. Judge all you want but while I was growing up, fried Spam or fried tocino in between slices of fluffy white bread or pan de sal was perfect and needed nothing more. And so, today I pay tribute to the sandwich of my childhood but with a tad more sophistication: homemade pork tocino in buttery brioche buns with homemade pickled carrots. See, I love pickled stuff now.

Pork tocino is incredibly simple to make at home. It’s pork butt, sugar, salt, and red beet powder for color. Here is a recipe on how to make pork tocino at home. Pickled carrots are so simple to make as well. Thomas Keller’s basic pickling liquid recipe from his Ad Hoc at Home is great for pickling vegetables like baby carrots, which go wonderfully well with the sweet pork tocino sandwiches. Think atchara, pickled green papaya and mango. Inuyaki makes pork tocino sliders with pickled mangoes, reminiscent of the sandwiches from New York City’s Purple Yam.


Pickled Carrots


Pickled Carrots Recipe, makes about 2 cups
Recipe by Thomas Keller from Ad Hoc at Home

10 medium carrots or 20 baby carrots, peeled
1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder or madras curry powder
1/4 jalapeño, seeded
1 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Cut medium carrots on the diagonal into 2-inch sections and then cut the sections lengthwise in half (or into quarters at the thicker end). Trim the green tops of baby carrots to about 1/4 inch and cut the carrots lengthwise in half.

Put the curry powder in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until fragrant. be careful — the curry can burn easily.

Add the carrots, jalapeño, and pickling liquid: champagne vinegar, sugar and water, to the curry, bring to a simmer, stirring from time to time to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour into a container and let the carrots cool in the liquid, then cover, and refrigerate for up to one month.


Tocino Sliders with Pickled Carrots

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  • Sean

    Jun, no one in their right mind would judge you or think less of you for not loving vinegar and what sounds like the love child of thousand island dressing and tartar sauce. Benevolent pity, perhaps, but certainly not a judge of character.
    Def gonna do the curried carrots, and with that much vinegar they’ll can quite nicely. Not sure when I’ll get to it but will give you credit!

  • Sean

    The curried carrots are def going on my “to make” list and I can see they will can very nicely. Will give you credit of course.

  • Jackie

    Mhm, those pickled carrots remind me of the ones we had at Tartelette when I was in town! Divine =)

    Jax x

  • Authenticsuburbangourmet

    Jun – I am obsessed with pickled veggies. These carrots look and sound amazing. I adore my Ad Hoc cookbook and you have inspired me to browse through it tonight. Hope you and Dennis are doing well.

  • Amelia from Z Tasty Life

    This sounds delectably zesty.
    The photo of the carrots in the Ball jars is so clean and fresh.

  • Amelia from Z Tasty Life

    This sounds delectably zesty.
    The photo of the carrots in the Ball jars is so clean and fresh.

  • Peggy Labor

    I remember my mom made that spread once when I was a kid, and I didn’t like it either! Weird how our taste buds differ as we grow older, but I guess I would consider vinegar a “mature” taste, hehe. These sandwiches look fantastic Jun! =)

  • Mike

    Oh these look incredible. What a great photo. I will definitely be making these.

  • Be

    Can I do this without the sugar?

  • Jun Belen

    It can definitely be made without sugar but the natural sweetness of the carrots wouldn’t be enough to balance the flavor of the vinegar. Maybe honey instead of sugar?

  • Jun Belen

    Thank you, Peggy! I’m glad I’m not alone with the aversion to sandwich spread!

  • Jun Belen

    I’ll take benevolent pity over judgment anytime! Thanks, Sean. Hope you are well.

  • deliciousness

    this is epic

  • Joanna

    As soon as such baby carrots arrive on the market I am so doing those pickles :-)

  • Ellie

    Can these be processed in a water bath to keep in the pantry?

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