I had the first incarnation of these pickles at a potluck I hosted nearly two years ago. My friend Wendy brought them to the party, and by the end of the night, the once overflowing bowl was reduced to a puddle of brine and with three little spears bobbling amidst the hot peppers and onion slivers. Crisp, fragrant and flavorful, they seemed to pair perfectly with every other dish on the table.
When the evening wrapped up, Wendy gave me permission to pour the leftover brine into a jar to save and reuse. The next day I added a fresh batch of cucumber spears and let the sweet/sour liquid work its magic. These days, I make these quick fridge pickles regularly during the spring, summer and fall, when kirby cucumbers are readily available (these do okay when made with English cucumbers, but not so well when made with waxed cukes). The brine can be reused several times (trash it when it gets cloudy).
Feel free to alter this recipe to your liking. Wendy’s original recipe calls for shallots and cilantro. I used scallions and mint because that’s what I had. If you don’t want your pickles to be too spicy, use half a hot pepper (or none at all if you can stand the heat). The recipe is after the jump.
Asian-Inspired Quick Pickles
- 5-6 kirby pickling cucumbers, each cut into six spears
- 1 chili pepper
- 1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar look for a brand that uses sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, Trader Joe's makes a good one
- 2 limes juiced
- 3-4 scallions chopped (greens and whites)
- 2 garlic cloves sliced
- 4 sprigs of mint chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pack the cucumber spears into a quart jar. Slide the chili pepper down in among the cucumber spears.
- In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the rice wine vinegar, lime juice, scallions, garlic cloves, mint and salt. Pour over the cucumbers. Using your fingers, poke some of the garlic slivers, mint and scallion down amidst the cucumbers.
- Screw a lid on the jar, and holding the over the sink (in case of leaks) invert the jar and give it a good shake, in order to distribute all the delicious bits.
- Let your pickles sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating.