Food For Thought: Nancy's Speed Pickles

Apr 5, 2017

Nancy Leson was more into pickles than I was this winter.

"Late last fall, when the last of the local peppers were at the farmer's market I snagged some gorgeous red jalapenos and I pickled a small batch," she said.

Nance says she continued to make them through the winter and has used them on everything from sandwiches to salads.

"And," she adds, "that salty, sweet pickling brine makes a great vinaigrette."

The brine recipe is from Marisa McClellen's "Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches."

Searching for the perfect pickle to top sardines?  Nancy says go Thai.

She slices cucumbers very thinly on a mandolin.  Then, taking a tip from Cafe Juanita's chef Holly Smith, she soaks shallots in fish sauce — then tosses them with with the cukes and serrano chiles. Here's how she does it.  

Right now, all I've got in my fridge are some preserved lemons and a batch of Do Chua, the Viet pickled daikon and carrots for 'banh mi' sandwiches.  Leson loves them, but says that her sandwiches sometimes get a little stinky. 

That doesn't mean they've gone bad, but if it's too much aroma, Andrea Nguyen, author of "The Banh Mi Handbook," and the new "The Pho Cookbook," advises letting the jar sit open outside the fridge for 15 or 20 minutes, and adds, "Leave the room if necessary." 

Nancy says, "Better yet, just do it outside."

"He looks as though he's been weaned on a pickle."  Alice Longworth Roosevelt