Quick Italian-Style Garden Pickles, part 2

You didn’t think I’d forget to follow up on the quick pickles, did you?

We first released the pickles for human consumption for last Thursday’s dinner party, alongside some cold cuts and yummy cheese from my favorite Italian deli (more on that later). At that point, they had been steeping for just three days. Their flavor was a bit sharp, decidedly vinegary and a little uncomplex for my tastes. So, naturally, I began pawning the stuff off on anyone who would take it, wittingly or otherwise. And as the holiday weekend was rather full of events, a lot of pawning off I did indeed.

However, on the 4th proper, I brought a goodly size batch of the stuff to our friend Hugh’s place, along with some of the watermelon rind pickle; both got set out right away. This time, now just over a week from the initial pickling, the flavor had matured somewhat. The vinegariness was tamed, and the herbal notes had developed more. Throughout, the texture of the vegetables remained crisp and firm. (By the way, the watermelon rind pickle was quite good — a real crowd-pleaser.)

But still, it was less exciting than I had hoped. I was minded of the little dish of quick pickles they bring you at Charanga, on Mission Street. Clearly also a quick pickle, they are a little sweeter, and have a much stronger spicy flavor, much more complex.

So, the takeaway? Next time, I will certainly pump up the spicing and add a little more sugar. I also may boil the vegetables in the vinegar solution for a minute or two, to speed the infiltration of the flavors into the veg matter. Still, not bad for a first try.

  • I’m telling ya, add banana pepper or the recommended chilies, not just more herbs.

  • I will definitely try this again with banana peppers or chilis — heaven knows I don’t need any excuses to add chili peppers to my food. I think I will also use red bell pepper in there for sweetness and deeper flavor.
    I’m intrigued by the kimchi recipe, but am skeptical, since true kimchi requires lengthy fermentation. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with a lighter, fresher kimchi … as long as it’s good and hot!
    There is also a Chinese restarant here, Yum Yum House, that makes this heavenly fresh pickled napa cabbage with hot pepper. I’ll have to get that again and reverse-engineer it. 🙂

  • My aunt serves quick pickled vegetables like these with fondue in the winter–I like the idea of pairing them with a cheese plate in the summer very much.