Friday, January 6, 2012

Zuni Cafe's Zucchini Pickles

Zucchini Pickles Day 2

I suppose in 2012 it's a little passé to be posting about the Zuni Cafe Cookbook... roughly 10 years after it was first published... but I just got it for Christmas so whaddya want from me? Zuni Cafe's most famous recipe is for roast chicken and it has become some sort of food blogger right of passage. While I do want to make the chicken that popularized the concept of a "dry brine"... I thought I'd start with some pretty awesome pickles instead. While they've only been pickling a day or so at the time of this writing I can tell you that these babies are well worth making. They've got a little bit of sweetness that is tempered by the mustard's tang. Perfect for a grilled cheese or just munching on.

You can find the recipe at the LA Times.

Trimmed Zucchini

A pound of zucchini and a small onion are all you need produce wise... but to get 1/16th inch slices of that zucchini you'll need a mandoline or far better knife skills than me.


Here they are sliced and covered in an icy brine in which they needed to sit for an hour. At the end of that hour the zucchini should be salty and somewhat soft. Appropriate texture achieved, I drained them and put 'em in batches in the salad spinner before drying them between paper towels... which was probably a little OCD... but Judy Rodgers said that excess water will dilute the flavor so I guess I took that a fairly seriously.

Waiting for Pickling Liquid

The dried zucchini and onions fit perfectly into a 1 liter jar.

Pickling Liquid

Apple cider vinegar (2 C), sugar (1 C), mustard powder (1 1/2 t), mustard seed (1 1/2 t), and tumeric (1 t) simmered for three minutes. You need it to cool down completely before adding it to the zucchini and onions as you don't want them to cook at all. Believe it or not it also fit perfectly in the liter jar with no excess. You want to wait at least a day (refrigerated) for the flavors to meld and for the zucchini to turn neon yellow... but they will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

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