There are a lot of things I think people should stop arguing about because they’re stupid and divisive and less consequential than we think. Many hills I don’t think are worth dying on, as it were. But there are some things I feel very strongly about, namely, good literature, a good bed, and good pickles. Enter Bon Appetit’s December/January issue.
Now, you might expect a Christmas issue of a food magazine to be full of hams and sweets, and while it does have those things, this particular issue was also packed with the cutest little appetizers and unusual delights like Chicory, Bacon and Poached Egg Salad (somebody please make that for me). But the one that most caught my eye, both because of my strong feelings about pickles and because let’s be honest, it was super duper easy and I mostly had the ingredients, was the Spicy Pickled Cucumbers.
I whipped half a recipe up in about five minutes flat, and once they were ready, Lyn and I stood in the kitchen and I am not ashamed to tell you, crunched through the whole bowlful in about the same amount of time, and I wished there were more. Pickles run in my family, you see. My mother is renowned for her pickles, and used to can obscene amounts of them each summer which we would then dole out to appreciative guests year round. I have a brother who is said to have eaten a quart a day by himself for some time, and in fact, I’m pretty sure our veins run partly with pickle juice.
Anyway, before I give you the recipe, let me first tell you what I changed, because I am nothing if not one of those annoying cooks who can’t follow a recipe exactly. First off, the recipe called for a little sugar. Shudder. I omitted that because #1. I don’t hate myself, and #2. I don’t want death threats from my family members. While sour pickles make the earth and its inhabitants rejoice, sweet pickles are much like bluegrass music and pink camouflage in that they should never have been allowed to deface this beautiful planet. (If you feel differently, I’ll still love you though, so don’t go running in terror.) Secondly, the amount of dill it called for seemed excessive, and I can only conclude that the Bon Appetit chefs used fresh dill which doesn’t pack down as much as dried, and assumed that nobody would be plebeian enough to do otherwise so they didn’t bother to say so. All that to say, unless you’re using fresh dill, don’t use the full 2 tablespoons they ask for.
Without further ado, let me give you the recipe. The original one can be found here. This is said to serve 8, but clearly they didn’t mean 8 Troyers.
- 12 medium Persian Cucumbers, sliced into spears (about 2 lb.)
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Toss this all together and let sit from 1-6 hours, tossing once. Just before serving, add:
- 1 Tbsp chopped dill, or 2 Tbsp if it’s fresh
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- More salt to taste
These were crunchy and cold and sour and delightful, everything a pickle ought to be. They would be perfect for a party appetizer because they’re quite pretty with the flecks of red pepper and green dill and they’re the easiest thing ever. Also, they would be great for a refreshing escape from a hot summer day, or to accompany your Sunday evening popcorn.
(P.S. I always seem to get these articles done in the month after which they belong in. Missed December by a day with this one. 😛 I am an excellent procrastinator.
P.P.S. Sorry I don’t have a photo of the finished product. It didn’t last long enough to photograph, which is rather a testament to its tastiness, don’t you think?)