These quickly pickled cucumbers are half light salad, half bright condiment. You won’t believe how easy it is to simply simmer together an aromatic pickling liquid to soak a mess of sliced cucumbers. These tasty pickles are strong enough to top fish, chicken or pork but light enough to be an excellent side salad. You’ll love filling Half Your Plate with these big bright flavours!
Yield: SERVES 4 TO 6
1 cup (250 mL) of cider vinegar
1/2 cup (125 mL) of white sugar
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of salt
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of fennel seeds
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of coriander seeds
2 bay leaves
a knob of frozen ginger, an inch or so
2 long English cucumbers, sliced as thinly as possible into rounds
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 minced jalapenos
1 bunch of fresh dill, leaves and tender stems finely chopped
Bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and bay leaves to a full furious boil. Turn off the heat and grate in the ginger with a microplane grater. Toss together the cucumbers, red onions and jalapenos. Pour the steaming hot pickling liquid over the vegetable mixture. Stir in the dill. Serve warm or refrigerate until cool.
You may serve the pickles immediately or if you have the time let them rest. As with all pickles they benefit from extended marinating time. An overnight soak really brightens their flavours. A batch keeps for weeks in your fridge.
© Chef Michael Smith – halfyourplate.ca
How To Twist
Love tuna fish? You can pop a can and stir directly into the pickles for an interesting side salad. Or make your favourite tuna fish sandwich the way you normally do and top the works with pickles.
Try grating a carrot or two into the mix. For relish-like results try dicing the cucumbers instead of slicing them. That half-cup of sugar? Try using marmalade, mint jelly or honey instead. Spicier? Start adding your favourite hot sauce until you hit your level.
You can pickle lots of other vegetable too. Not just cucumbers. One of my favourites is a thinly sliced bulb of fennel.
I will admit that I was not a big fan of brussels sprouts as a kid but now that I’ve discovered pan-roasting I’m seriously hooked on them. This easy method is by far my favourite way to cook them. They’re so durable that you can easily caramelize them as they cook through. In this recipe they’re deliciously joined by bright orange and crunchy cashews.
Anytime I fire up my grill for supper I always look for a veggie to add to the works because grilling is not just for meat. Firm, juicy zucchini is an ideal candidate. This simple dish also shows how easily you can adapt the classic flavours of salsa to just about any fruit. Try it; you just might discover that you prefer peaches to tomatoes in your salsa!