Lido's Mark Zeitouni, executive chef at the Standard Hotel's restaurant, adds his Egyptian background and the farm-to-table aesthetic he learned in San Francisco to his Mediterranean dishes. That includes his handcrafted pickles.
According to Zeitouni, it's a long process, but one that's easy enough to do at home.
"It is something where you really can have fun with it and make your own combinations, nothing is really set in stone," he says. "You can make your own little spice blend and it's fun that way."
Now that Zeitouni has taught us the theory of pickling, it's time to put it into practice.
Lido's sous chef Vanessa Lane shows us how it's done, using Zeitouni's spicy dill pickle recipe (with pictures!). She makes about 20 pickles at a time, using Kirby cucumbers, but you can customize the recipe however you want.
20 Kirby cucumbers
1 horseradish root
8 cups vinegar
2 cups kosher salt, plus more for ice water mix
Pickling spices (you can use mustard seed, bay leaves, coriander, red pepper flakes, and fennel seed)
Several whole cloves of garlic and sprigs of fresh dill
A large bucket or jars for canning
Cut off the top and bottom ends of the cucumbers. Soak in salted ice water for four hours. This makes the cucumbers crispy.
To prepare the brine, use equal parts water and vinegar. Here they used eight cups of each, as well as two cups of kosher salt.
Pour the brine into a large pot.
Juice approximately 15 jalapeños and one horseradish root. Mix in about three ounces each of the juices with the brine.
Heat the mixture at a simmer for five to ten minutes, then cool down to about 120 degrees. Add the rest of the jalapeño and horseradish juices.
Strain the chilled cucumbers from the ice water mixture and place in a large bucket (if you're going to eat them right away) or separate into jars to store for a long period of time. If using jars, make sure to boil them first to remove any bacteria.
Add pickling spices to the cucumbers. At Lido, they use mustard seed, bay leaves, coriander, red pepper flakes, and fennel seed, but you can mix your own to match your taste.
Add whole cloves of garlic and fresh dill.
Take the cooled brining mixture and pour over the cucumbers, making sure they are completely submerged.
If you use a large bucket, like they do at Lido, you can cover the cucumbers by placing a couple of large plates over them. If using jars, seal the jar and place in boiling water to force out air. Make one more twist on the top of the jar after removing from heat. Once the jar cools, the rubber will shrink down and pull in the top, sealing it.
Before refrigerating, make sure the pickling mixture reaches room temperature. Then, store in the fridge for four days to a week.
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After that, you've got yourself some pickles!