Quick Pickle Spears

Quick Pickle Spears

A tangy marinated cucumber that doesn’t take days to get that way.
TIME 45 minutes, plus time to chill
MAKES 24 pickle spears
½ cup white wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
2 large or 3 medium cucumbers (about 1½ pounds)

1 Put the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, bay leaf, and 2 cups water in a large pot and bring the mixture to a boil.

2 Meanwhile, trim the tops and bottoms from the cucumbers and peel them if you like. First cut them in half crosswise, then in half lengthwise. Then cut each piece lengthwise into 3 spears.

3 Once the liquid reaches a boil, add the cucumbers and remove from the heat. Let the cucumbers sit in the brine for 30 minutes; stir a few times to make sure all the cucumbers are submerged at least part of the time.

4 To chill quickly, transfer the pickles and brine to the freezer and cool, stirring occasionally, until the cucumbers crisp a bit and are cold throughout, 5 to 10 minutes. Or transfer them to the refrigerator to chill overnight. Serve the pickles in their brine or remove them as you need them (they’ll keep in the brine for at least a week).

  • 7 Other Vegetables That You Can Pickle This Way. Figure about 2 pounds before trimming and cut each into florets, slices, or spears:

1 Cauliflower
2 Broccoli
3 Onions
4 Celery
5 Zucchini
6 Carrots
7 Bell peppers

  • Pickling is a chemical process that draws water out of food with a brine—any mixture that contains salt—to flavor and preserve it. Many pickling brines also contain vinegar (especially for quick pickles like this one). The salt draws out the moisture, producing a crisper vegetable, while the vinegar adds flavor.
  • To peel or not to peel? If the skin is thick or treated with a waxy or oily coating (you’ll be able to see and feel it), peel. Sometimes even thin, unwaxed skins can be bitter, so when in doubt, take a taste.
  • If you ever see small pickling cucumbers (which are no more than about 4 inches long), grab ’em. Just trim the ends and cut them lengthwise into spears for this recipe.

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