Pickles are one of those items we all have eaten at some time or other. Sometimes we get them at a restaurant as a garnish, sometimes we just crave them, but who makes them? I love to! Not long term type pickles (I don’t have the space or the patience today), but quick pickled items...Like what you may say? Well what about pickled samphirre with your mackerel, pickled shallots to serve with a block of warmed feta cheese as an appetizer, pickled eggplant and cumin sealed with EVOO for your grilled lamb kabobs, pickled red onion with black onion seeds to serve over some nice salmon and fennel puree...the list goes on and on...and these are all basically the same idea...the same quick pickle...
PREP for BASIC PICKLE ...
PICKLED FENNEL ( or sub red onion)
2 fennel bulbs thinly sliced ( toss out core but save long dark green stalks for stock and use frond ends as a garnish for pickle or other dishes...) (or any other veg you fancy...or a mix...adjust sizes of cuts as well...the bigger the chunk the longer it takes to infuse the flavour. If trying to use whole items like green beans, you make want to blanche them is boiling water for 30 seconds to aid the process)
2 T fennel seeds (or any other spice you fancy)
1 cup white wine vinegar (again you choose the vinegar)
½ cup water (you can omit water and add more vinegar for stronger flavour)
¼ cup sugar (try with different sugars, honey, etc.)
2 T salt
WHAT TO DO
- In a mixing bowl place fennel and toss with 2 T salt. This helps to pull excess water from the inside of the vegetable (Don’t worry, we will clean off the salt in 10 minutes!!!)
- In a sauce pan heat up vinegar, seeds, sugar and water till sugar dissolves (place bitter or less edible spices like peppercorns in a disposable paper tea bag holder to add more flavour as well)
- After ten minutes take fennel and immerse them in bowl of water. Empty first mixing bowl, fill with clean water and now place fennel back in this bowl. Perform this transfer one more time, or until most of salty taste has left the fennel.
- In a clean, dry storage container, add fennel and pour vinegar mixture over the onions.
- Mix fennel and make sure they are submerged in the liquid. Place closed container in refrigerator and eat in a few hours or days
MORE DISHES TO WASH
The idea is that the quick pickle can be made in advance and you can keep a variety of them for a long time in your cooler. This gives you a variety of condiments for your impromptu guests, midnight snacks, or last minute funky garnish...
Try pickled asparagus spears or green beans with your Bloody Mary
Make the best Gibson martini ever with home pickled ramps or baby onions
A simple thin sliced cucumber, radish, and carrot pickle using rice wine vinegar and sesame seeds for your next sushi night...
Cabbage, carrot, radish, and garlic with cumin seeds with your tacos and margaritas
OR for the hardcore...pickled jalapeno slices with toasted fennel and shallots in balsamic vinegar and a few cold beers to chase them with!!!
So many combinations...all you need is some veg, some vinegar, some sugar and some salt...enjoy!!!!