Bondir, Cambridge, Massachusetts, can’t
get enough dandelion buds. Because
no one sells them, he has to forage for
them. He treats them like capers. To
prepare the buds for pickling, he coats
them in salt for 24 hours. He then pours
a brine over them and leaves them at
room temperature for six hours, after
which he refrigerates them for up to two
weeks before declaring them ready to
eat. “The dandelion buds have an added
earthiness, closer to sunflower.” He adds
them to beef tartare.
At TART, a restaurant at Farmer’s
Daughter Hotel, Los Angeles, executive
chef Keith Shutta pickles mustard seeds
for his beer-braised short ribs. In a
small pot on the stove, he heats water,
white vinegar, sugar and salt until the
seeds are not quite completely dry and
transfers to a plastic container, covers
it and places it in a cool corner of the
prep area overnight. “The next day, it
resembles caviar with its orange color,”
he says. “It has a horseradish pop, but
with a combination of sweet and salty.
It works well with braised meat like the
beer and mustard thing,” he says.
helps sustain his farmer’s livelihood
year-round, while he pickles the
overabundance and serves them in his
burger set. Green beans are just the
beginning. He also pickles the likes
of strawberries, peaches, asparagus,
rhubarb, cauliflower, carrots, Swiss
chard and onions. For a condiment, he
makes pickled ramp relish by pickling
the long body in vinegar, salt and sugar
and pureeing the leafy green tops to
add to the green herb oil he makes.
The chopped pickled ramp goes in
the oil, “And it’s an awesome spicy/
sweet relish that goes with steak as a
condiment,” he says.
Urban Farmer’s 500-square-foot pantry
is lined with jars of housemade pickles
of all sorts. While some restaurants
might place a pickled cucumber on the
side of a burger, chicken sandwich or
BLT, Christianson serves sandwiches
with a side ramekin of assorted chopped
pickled items, such as cauliflower, beets,
carrots, turnips and more.
Considering the flavor-profile factor,
unusual items find their way into the
pickle jar. Brendan Joy, chef de cuisine at
peaches with star anise
From the book (pictured) Smoke
and Pickles: Recipes and Stories
from a New Southern Kitchen by
Edward Lee (Artisan Books, 2013).
Yield: 2 quarts
2 pounds peaches, slightly underripe
1 cup champagne vinegar
1 cup water
1 ½ cups sugar
1 t. kosher salt
4 star anise
2 serrano chili peppers, sliced in half
3 jasmine tea bags
Peel peaches with vegetable peeler.
Slice into wedges, discarding pits.
Pack into large glass jar or other
heatproof container. Combine vinegar,
water, sugar, salt and star anise in
medium saucepan. Bring to a boil,
stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour
hot liquid over peaches; add peppers
and tea bags. Cover with tightfitting
lid. Refrigerate. Remove and discard
tea bags after one day. Peaches are
ready after two days. The peaches will
keep for up to three weeks.