I have been dill-igently (apologies, awful) studying Saunders’ Japanese pickle books and now believe that I am the expert. Reading up on quick kimchee, how to pickle burdock and lotus root, and the intricacies of salt quantities and flavourings. Time to take the pickle press for a quick run around the block solo and, because that’s how I roll, without a recipe.
While I am a fan of the Japanese style of pickling, my heart lies with pickled onions and gherkins. My aim here was to create a lightly pickled cucumber salad, with the flavour of gherkins and the crunch and convenience of the Japanese quick pickle method. Here goes…
I chopped eight small cucumbers into rounds about an inch thick – Turkish supermarkets usually have these.
I then added 2.5% of the weight of the cucumbers in salt. The rule of thumb is between 2 and 3% - I didn’t want it to be crazy salty so went for 2.5%.
For flavour I added two heaped tablespoons of chopped dill, and a heaped tablespoon of pickling spices. The pickling spices were the first thing to fall out of the spice cupboard but a mix of mustard seed, black pepper, coriander seed, ginger, chillies and a bay leaf would work equally well. I gave all the flavouring ingredients and the salt a quick bash in a mortar and pestle for good measure. I also added a level tablespoon of sugar for sweetness and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
The lid was then screwed on and fingers crossed.
The result was, even if I say it myself, pretty good. The flavour of the dill and the spices came through well and the mix was pleasingly crunchy. I ate it mostly with my fingers straight out the pickle press but, with more decorum, I might serve them alongside some mac and cheese or a hot dog or shove it in a pastrami sandwich. Basically anything meaty that needs a bit of crunch and the suggestion of vegetables. Yummers.