Its is getting summery here at Putney Farm and when we cook for summer we start thinking about pickles. Really? Well, yes. Few ingredients get less attention that the lowly pickle, but few make such a difference in summer cooking. Bread and butter pickles on pulled pork and burgers? Check. Cool dill pickle spears? Check. Refrigerator pickles with your home-grown cucumbers? Check. Sweet gherkins or salty cornichons in the potato salad? Check. Home-made relish for your dogs? Check. We think you get the idea- the sourness, acidity and crunch of pickles compliment almost any rich dish.
We make our own refrigerator pickles every summer (recipe soon) and have a love affair (that is not too strong a description) with Horman’s Best Pickles in New York. Horman’s red flannel bread and butter pickle chips are one of the best foods in the world (and no, that is also not too strong a description). We are also enjoying Sonoma Brinery pickles locally. But when we need an instant “pickle fix”, we like to make a simple quick pickle from cucumbers and radishes. These pickles take all of 10-15 minutes to make and are great for a snack, condiment or side salad.
Now you may say “what’s the big deal” with a quick pickle. Well, we will tell you that some of the best chef’s in the world use pickles to add instant crunch and brightness to their cooking. As we often mention, the best recipes blend a range of flavors and textures, and pickles add acid, sweet, sour and crunch. A neat trick for so little work. It is not surprising that chefs like David Chang and Hugh Acheson use quick (and fermented) pickles in many of their award-winning dishes. And this recipe combines some of their techniques from Chang’s Momofuku Cookbook and Acheson’s A New Turn in the South.