Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kickin' Back with Pickles, Sapporro, and Sumo

"There were these Moroccan guys who ran a 'hamburger stand' in Angers who made something just like this. They served it on a baguette."

"I used to get pickles just like these at the 7-Eleven in Sendai. Guys would eat these while drinking Sapporro and watching Sumo. I didn't watch Sumo, but I liked drinking Sapporro Black while eating pickles."

Twice last month E had "Deja Food" experiences with something I cooked. The funny thing is, both of these foods were completely new to me. The "Moroccan" guys' hamburger stand must have made something like Merguez sausage. Sichuan Pickles were the other. The summer may be over, but these are still a treat.

I've written elsewhere about the Merguez sausage. The Sichuan pickle recipe came from my recent favorite cookbook, Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey. They're quick pickles (half an hour) so they are accessible to anyone -- not just those brave enough to take on canning.
I am including the recipe below.

Like most recipes in this cookbook, the balance of flavors is excellent. Sesame oil ads richness. Ginger keeps it "bright" and not cloying, and they're pickles: The vinegar provides acidity so bland cucumbers become delightfully tart.

Sichuan Cucumber Pickles

2 Large American Pickles, approximately 1 pound each (longer works better than wider)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt

2 Cloves garlic crushed and peeled
1-inch Ginger root, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Hot red peppers, seeded and sliced
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted and ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Scrub and rinse the cucumbers, and pat dry. Cut each cucumber lengthwise into 6 slices.
  2. To draw out the excess juice from the cucumbers, place them in a large bowl, sprinkle with the 1 1/2 tablespoon of salt, and let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse, drain and pat dry.
  3. To make the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients and mix well.
  4. Place the cucumbers in a large serving bowl, pour the dressing over them and toss well. For the best results, refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
[These do not hold up well to storage beyond one day, so eat 'em up.]

Good luck!

No comments: