Monday, August 10, 2009
I read all kinds of crazy canning stuff on the interwebz. Pumpkin pickles, watermelon rind pickles, canning a whole chicken. ((shiver)) But you need to hear me out when it comes to my latest food preservation expedition: pickled zucchinis.
I've had these as relish on a few plates this past year, alongside the fantastic burger at Higgins bar, and I'm pretty sure they serve them on the side at Pause as well. But here's how you know they're really good: I'm not a pickle fan.
I'm just not. But when it comes to these zucchini pickles? I can't get enough of them. Super delicious. So I set out googling around for a good recipe, and alas, I did not find one I wanted to use that was for canning and keeping longer term, but I found one with just the right spices and I keep the jar in the fridge.
Plus, hello. There's only so much zucchini you can grill. It was time to pickle it! So simple, and so tangy. Just be careful where you slosh that turmeric juice around: it's bright yellow. The recipe I used is from the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. I doubled the recipe and ended up with 2 quart jars. One for us, one for a friend. I'm sure I'll make more as the zucchini season marches on. You should too.
1 pound zucchini
1 small yellow onion
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed yellow and/or brown mustard seeds
Scant 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1. Wash and trim the zucchini, then slice them one-sixteenth-inch thick; a mandoline works best. Slice the onion very thin as well. Combine the zucchini and onions in a large but shallow nonreactive bowl, add the salt and toss to distribute. Add a few ice cubes and cold water to cover, then stir to dissolve the salt.
2. After about 1 hour, taste and feel a piece of zucchini -- it should be slightly softened. Drain and pat dry.
3. Combine the vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, mustard seeds and turmeric in a small saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside until just warm to the touch. (If the brine is too hot, it will cook the vegetables and make the pickles soft instead of crisp.)
4. Return the zucchini to a dry bowl and pour over the cooled brine. Stir to distribute the spices. Transfer the pickle to jars. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least a day before serving to allow the flavors to mellow and permeate the zucchini, turning them a brilliant chartreuse color.