July 11, 2013
What do a Bloody Mary, a ham sandwich and Buckwheat from the The Little Rascals have in common besides the recipe for an awesome afternoon? A pickle, my friends. A pickle.
That wasn’t a riddle, and pickling is no joking matter. Just ask Julius Caesar, who swore by the succulent cucumbers in the year 850 BC.
With summer in full-swing, I’m sure many of you are wondering where to incorporate fresh, in-season produce sans the ever-boring fruit salad or grilled vegetable kebab. We don’t have anything against a great fruit salad or grilling really anything for that matter, but sometimes your taste buds demand a little more zing.
What better time to take up a new hobby and give your produce an amped up, snackable quality? Before we utter “mason jar”, a multi-purpose object now synonymous with endless DIY crafts on Pinterest and glittery, acrylic paint, hear us out.
Some really talented chefs in San Diego are already pioneers on the fermentation front (okay, perhaps we are a tad biased.) Jeff Rossman and his team at Terra American Bistro make their own shrubs, which are acidulated combinations of vinegar, sugar and fruit. Jeff incorporates the handmade shrubs into Terra’s cocktail menu for an added dimension of flavor minus the overwhelmingly sweet taste of common drink additions. Miguel Valdez, executive chef of The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge and The Red Door Restaurant & Wine Bar recently debuted his very own pickled watermelon rinds on San Diego 6, prosciutto wrapped and all (post-jar bath of course). Gaijin Noodle + Sake House’s Antonio Friscia and his mixologists cultivated a menu featuring infusions of fruit, tea and vodka, on display behind the bar in large, mason jar-like vases, true to pickling form.
If you find yourself in a recipe rut in the coming months, pickling is an awesome accent to cocktails, a wonderful salad base and a tangy snack to nosh on. It’s also the most natural way to preserve. We are itching to try a batch of strawberry, habanero pepper and basil, amazing stuff to put on an open-faced baguette sandwich. All that is required is simple vinegar, a jar and about 30 minutes minimum.
What pickle will you be getting yourself into?