Once a master pickler tried to teach me how to make pickles. Brining, canning, sterilizing, waiting for weeks until it was ready. Way too much work for my impatient stomach, I royally messed it up by prematurely opening the jar, which ultimately left me with a mighty flaccid dill. I needed instant pickle gratification. I set off on quick pickling kick: cucumbers, onions, beets, eggplant, red peppers and hot peppers.
Making homemade pickles (aka cucumber) was the most important thing to be pickled. Oh, how I miss that super flavorful, sweet, garlicky, spicy, vinegary kick with a whole lotta crunch, to add to perfect a sandwiches, burger or pop ’em plain. These days I’m kinda sorta obsessed with pickling.
– 2 kilos cucumbers (or however many will fit in your jar) (that’s what she said)
– 1 cup white vinegar
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
– 3 teaspoons mustard seed
– 2 teaspoons celery seed (get this at Casa Polti)
– 2 cloves garlic, cut in halves
– 1 spicy chili pepper, sliced
– 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
Toss the vinegar, sugar, salt, celery seed, mustard seed into a pan and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, use a mandoline and slice those cukes up thin, next time I’ll use a crinkle blade to make them extra fancy.
I slice my cucumbers extra thin because I like it like that, perfect to shove a bunch into a grilled cheese sandwich.
Once the sugar dissolves turn the heat off, chuck the pickles in and mix around. You can also add the garlic and peppers. And the onions. The pickles will start off looking bright green.
Let them cool and watch as they begin to fade..
And ultimately turn yellow. Pour into a jar with a tight fitting lid and put in the fridge so they crunch up. Now, while it’s better to let them sit and let the flavors orgy around a bit, I have been known to use them as is.
Ever since Doug and Skeeter listened to The Beets I have been a major fan of this red-dye root. A few weeks ago at one of my favorite BA spots, Las Pizarras, Chef Rodrigo brought out a simple, delicate yet intricate salad that was topped with absolutely divine thinly sliced crunchy beets. I asked him how he made them, in total awe of the crisp texture and earthy flavor, “I pickled them” he casually said. Of course my attempt was no way near Rodrigo’s crazy masterful skillz, I did manage to make a pretty legit version that also semi-dyed my kitchen counter a beautiful red splotchy color. Chau depósito, you were born to be a goner.
There’s something about a sliced beet that’s really attractive to look at, that bullseye multicolored ring is just hypnotizing. I semi followed this Momofuku beet recipe, a poor girl’s impatient version that did not include kombu, rice vinegar (white vinegar instead), and I waited less than 24 hours before I ducked my hand into that pink juiced jar.
Since I arrived to Arg I’ve always been a major proponent of berenjenas en escabeche, or pickled eggplant. It’s a great garlicky tart topping for a sandwich, on boring tostadas or even to liven up a sad pizza porteña. I made a major eggplant pickling no-no and didn’t peel the skin. Blerg. While the taste was there, it didn’t come out slimy and sultry as I had hoped. But if you just follow Katie’s recipe at Seashells and Sunflowers and it will turn out perfectly.
I did, however, store it in a jar made by Martha Stewart designs.
Some more pickling recipes that have worked wonders: