Pickle Power

Now that we are getting back into barbecue and picnic season again, here’s a handy high flavored mélange that will provide another alternative to the ever-present vegetable quandary. It’s more a salad than a condiment, but the sweet-sour action will likely remind you of old-fashioned bread and butter pickles.

Almost any herb and vegetable combination will work, so it’s helpful if you can consider your menu application in advance. The batch shown here was designed as free-standing crudités that would not require a drippy dip. A week later, I served these treats again with burgers and they were an excellent complement – each veggie was still crisp and refreshing. I suspect they would be outstanding with ribs – or even Asian food.

You’ll find these veggies will last very well, and are great ad hoc snacking right out of the fridge. For longer storage, dried herbs will hold up just as well as fresh herbs. Be sure and plan at least a day ahead, to allow for the pickling process. This is another fine selection from Jerry Traunfeld’s cookbook, The Herbal Kitchen.

Fresh Herb and Vegetable PickleFrom Jerry Traunfeld’s, The Herbal Kitchen
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 quarts cool water
2 quarts prepared vegetables: strips of pepper, fennel bulb or cabbage, cucumber moons, cauliflower
2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
4 whole hot peppers, dried, or 1/4 tsp pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 ounce fresh herbs

Stir salt and 2 quarts water together in plastic container or glass bowl to dissolve salt. Add vegetables and let them sit in brine at room temperature 4-6 hours.

Bring vinegar, sugar, 2 cups water, chiles and bay to boil. Drop in herb bunch, turn off heat, and allow to cool to room temperature.

Drain vegetables, return to container and pour pickling liquid with herbs over them. Press veggies down under liquid, if exposed. Cover and chill. They will be ready the next day. Yields 2 quarts ~~

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