Friday, March 19, 2010

Let Us Speak of Pickled Things

Here lately, what with the interest in canning, I have given a lot of thought to pickled things. I love them. I love pickles in many forms, and I know that it's a typical food in the south, but I am not sure about other places. Anyway, we had a dinner party last weekend, and I put together a few of my favorite pickled things of late and called it an appetizer. They were hits, so I thought I would share these with you.

These pickled cucumbers are struggling to find a name with me. They need a special name because they aren't even pickles really- more like brined cucumbers. And they are also very Asian-flavored- lots of ginger and fish sauce. But they are crisp and crunchy and have about a thousand different uses- they are great on top of a peice of grilled tuna, great in sandwiches, on crackers, or just crammed into your mouth while you hang out on your deck, all bundled up and pretending it's spring. I adapted this recipe from a marinade I found in one of our cookbooks on modern asian and thai cooking.

Asian Briney Cucumber Thingys

3in peice of fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves
just a bit of thai chili paste or maybe a dash of Sriracha
5T sugar
5T fish sauce
juice of 2 limes
1/3 c of water
2 cucumbers, seeded and sliced sort of thin

mix it all up and toss in the cucumbers. at first the cukes will not be very well covered by the marinade, but within about 20 minutes they will give up some of their juice and kind of settle in. Let sit overnight. This will keep for about 10 days in a sealed container.

I feel like people should make the most of what's available locally. This is double true when you are lucky enough to live in a fishing town, where local shrimp can be bought pretty much fresh off the boat. If you can't go down to the docks for your shrimp, find the best ones you can get. As with all things, that is the difference between goodness and greatness.

Pickled Shrimp
Adapted from This Recipe

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
large onion, sliced thin
green pepper, rough chopped
1C vegetable oil
1 1/2 C ketchup
2C Apple Cider Vinegar
1T yellow mustard
3T worstershire
1t Old Bay
a few shakes of salt, pepper, and hot sauce

mix up everything but the shrimp in a giant bowl. drop the shrimp in boiling water for just a short short time- like one minute. Seriously. It won't look to be fully cooked, but the vinegar will continue that process. If you fully cook them when you boil the shrimp you will end up with some very tough shrimp, and we all know that's not fun. Serve with crackers.

Have a great weekend! There are buds on the trees here, and the dogwoods are in full bloom. I will be popping Claritins, enjoying the view, and wishing for more pickled things.


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