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Pickled Cucumbers | This is Genius

Pickled Cucumbers

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.

Variations

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.

Pickled Cucumber

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By Rick Britt Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Makes a wonderful nibble, a perfect palate cleanser, or pairs well with steak and meaty fish.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

1

Preparing the Pickle

2

Slice the cucumber in rings and smash the garlic, but don’t break it into pieces

3

Place the sugar and salt in a small bowl

4

Add water, cider vinegar, and about ½ the white vinegar, stir

5

Layer the cucumbers, garlic, and herbs in the bowl

6

Top with remaining vinegar just to cover

7

I like to move the liquid ever so slightly on the sides with a spoon to ensure incorporation, but keeping it covered

8

Rest

9

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.

Notes

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.

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