Salted Cucumber Pickles
| 4 Cups
Inspired by two of our favorite authors and cookbooks we've been mixing up vodka martinis and spiking them with salted cucumber pickles. The drink is right out of Matt Hranek's book The Martini. His vodkas of choice (kept in the freezer) are Titos, Stoli, or anything Polish. "I want my distilled spirits to actually taste like something," he says. Our garnish is from the Quick Cucumber Pickles recipe in Naomi Duguid's book The Miracle of Salt. She starts with little Persian cucumbers and adds coarse sea salt and an easy rice vinegar dressing. The process takes a couple of days (cucumbers are sliced, salted, brined, rinsed, dressed, and soaked) but the resulting pickles are worth it: they dress up the martini beautifully, and make an addictive snack, too.
- 2 lb Persian cucumbers
- 2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1-1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Wash cucumbers and slice crosswise on a slight diagonal, 1/3 to 1/2 inch wide. Add the salt and mix with your hands to distribute well.
- Place the cucumbers in a non-reactive bowl and cover the slices with a flat plate. Top with a weight heavy enough to keep the cucumbers submerged but not distort or flatten them. Place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- The cucumbers will have given off a lot of water and sitting in brine. Drain and discard the brine. Rinse the slices in cold water and gently press out the water.
- Mix together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the cucumbers. Mix gently to ensure all the slices are coated.
- Transfer to glass jars with lids and refrigerate. They're best when steeped for at least six hours, and will keep, refrigerated, for up to a week.
- Use in martinis, salads, or out of hand. They're nice in a crystal bowl on an hors d'oeuvres plate, too.
Adapted from The Miracle of Salt by Naomi Duguid (Artisan Books, 2002)