The New Pickle

cucumbersFor those who love pickles, I’ve been trying out a lot of different pickles in New York City/New Jersey lately.  I always catch pickle makers at farmer’s markets or street fairs.  I’ve become obsessed with this sweet/spicy pickle that I bought at a street fair this fall.  It was so good, I kept the brine and cut up more cucumbers and put it in the brine to pickle.  [It's a great way to savor the pickles a little longer by adding in new cucumbers.  After all, sometimes it'll be a year before you see the pickle guys again!]

For Thanksgiving this year I made Taiwanese Sesame Cucumbers (from Food & Wine) as an appetizer to my Asian American themed Thanksgiving.  I loved these pickles so much, they were gone in no time.  I kept the brine, because I planned on adding more cucumbers…but this is post-Sandy and not all grocers have cucumbers right now.

What’s great about this recipe is that there is no cooking involved…just mix the ingredients and put it in the fridge.

Here is the original recipe from Food & Wine.  Then I’ll add my comments on how I changed it.

  1. 3 seedless cucumbers, chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes
  2. 1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
  3. 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  4. Kosher salt
  5. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  6. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  7. 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • Cut the cucumbers lengthwise into eighths, then cut them crosswise into 2-inch-long sticks. In a large bowl, combine the sesame oil, vinegar and a large pinch of salt. Add the cucumbers and toss well. Let stand for 10 minutes, tossing a few times.
  • In a mini food processor, combine the sesame seeds, crushed red pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Process until the sesame seeds are coarsely chopped. Add half of the mixture to the cucumbers and toss well. Arrange the cucumbers on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seed mixture and the scallions and serve.

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Here’s what I did differently…

Instead of using a bowl, use a glass jar.

  1. 2-3 cucumbers (depends on how much the jar will hold)
  2. 1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
  3. 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  4. Kosher salt
  5. Water to top off the jar.
  • Cut the cucumbers lengthwise into eighths, then cut them crosswise into 2-inch-long sticks. In the glass jar, combine the sesame oil, vinegar and a large pinch of salt. Add the cucumbers. 
  • After filling up the jar to the max with cucumbers, add water to the top of the jar (so that all cucumbers are submerged in the mixture.  Seal the lid on tightly and then shake the jar until all of the ingredients are mixed.  Then refrigerate the jar.
  • Keep the jar in the refrigerator overnight before serving. 

Now, I tried the recipe with the sesame seed mixture and I didn’t like it.  The cucumbers alone were better without it. 

I would also like to note that the longer the cucumbers stay soaked in the brine…the better it tastes. 

You can pick up all of these ingredients at your local grocery store (even at Target).  You can find the sesame oil and the rice vinegar in the Asian food aisle.

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