The first time I had these wonderful Pickled Cucumbers was in a hot new restaurant in New York City. That was over 20 years ago, not sure if the restaurant survived it, but these did. The presentation was under a filet mignon. It had never dawned on me to put a cold picked cucumber under a hot seared steak. Try it, you will find its genius.
I don’t even think I made it three days after arriving home and before this was on the table. These pickled cucumbers have been a hit ever since. Making them is a snap, and very versatile.
The base is always the same, cucumbers water, sugar, and vinegar. The vinegar I change a lot, but I always keep it white. I tried a red and it makes the cucumbers pink, not the most appetizing colour.
As for the herbs, I have used a variety with great effect, thyme, basil, rosemary, nasturtiums, dill, or sage. Often, I walk the garden and pick a few I like and gently crush them in my hands looking for a combination that smells amazing then use them. No matter what you choose it only take a few sprigs of each.
Makes a wonderful nibble, a perfect palate cleanser, or pairs well with steak and meaty fish.
- ¾ of an English cucumber cut into pennies or pence
- 3 cloves of garlic smashed
- 6 sprigs of thyme
- 2 basil sprigs
- 5 stalks of nasturtium or another fresh green herb
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tsp of sugar
- ¼ cup 65ml water
- 1/8 cup 31ml cider vinegar
- ¼ cup 65ml distilled white vinegar (I use this last just enough to cover the cucumber and herbs.
- A hot red chili optional
Preparing the Pickle
Slice the cucumber in rings and smash the garlic, but don’t break it into pieces
Place the sugar and salt in a small bowl
Add water, cider vinegar, and about ½ the white vinegar, stir
Layer the cucumbers, garlic, and herbs in the bowl
Top with remaining vinegar just to cover
I like to move the liquid ever so slightly on the sides with a spoon to ensure incorporation, but keeping it covered
If you are using that day, I live it in a cool place. Or you can refrigerate if you want to slow the pickling or desire a cold pickle. If it’s going under a steak or fish, I like it cold for contrast.
As this is pickled it will stay fresh in a covered container in the fridge for at least two weeks
Utilising the garden for Pickled Cucumber
Ivan’s garden is enchanting in Easton, where we visited recently. I knew the minute I saw it I had to make pickled cucumbers. We had them as simple fresh amuse bouche between courses. They keep for up to a week; the flavour will intensify over that time. So, if you want a gentle tart pickle to eat these the same day if a tart and strong pickle is needed to wait a few days. If you like spice, then single red chilli will do the trick.