Not all pickles take weeks of slow fermentation in a dark, cool cellar. Lots can be made and enjoyed within hours. In this week's Food for Thought Nancy Leson tells of two she recently put up and enjoyed that evening.
I'm definitely making both. And now, so can you.
Pickled Fennel with Arbol Chilis and Orange Peel (makes 3 pint-jars)
2 medium fennel bulbs, white and very light-green part only, cored and sliced 1/8-inch thick
2 1/2 cups Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 dried arbol or Japones chilis
2 fresh bay leaves
Julienned peel of 1 medium orange
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Tellicherry peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the
heat to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered, or until you can bite through the
fennel but it still has some crunch. (The fennel will give up some liquid as it cooks, so
stir and pat it down occasionally to encourage it to sink down into the pan.)
Remove the pan from the heat and let the fennel sit until it reaches room temperature. Transfer the
fennel to jars, pour the brine on top, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
-- from A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus by Renee Erickson (Sasquatch Books)
Cucumbers Soused in Soy (serves 6)
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 3/4 pounds Japanese cucumbers (or substitute English or Persian cucumbers)
2 dried Japanese red chiles or arbols, broken in small pieces
2 tablespoons finely slivered ginger
1/2 cup best-quality soy sauce
8 shiso leaves (optional)
Sprinkle the salt on a cutting board and roll the cucumbers in the salt using fairly strong
pressure (lean your body into it!). Rinse the cucumbers in hot tap water and pat dry. Lop
off the bitter ends and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.
Drop the cucumbers, torn chiles, and
ginger slivers into a re-sealable gallon-sized freezer bag and pour in the soy sauce.
Stack the shiso leaves, if using, roll into cigar shape, slice into fine tendrils, and toss into
the bag with the cucumbers. Roll the bag up, squeezing out the air as you go, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Flip the bag once after 30 minutes so the soy sauce is evenly
distributed. -- From Preserving the Japanese Way, Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Nancy Singleton Hachisu makes three appearances in Seattle this month.
Sept 14: Book Larder in Fremont:
Sept 15 Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill:
Sept. 16 8-course "Preserving the Japanese Way" dinner at Hitchcock restaurant on Bainbridge Island. (reservations needed -- 206-201-3789
So, there y'go. Two kinds of crunch ready the same day.
"I love waiting." – No one, ever.