TND – The Experimental Pickle Edition

July 5, 2012

I got to the farmer’s market last Thursday at the very end of the day which is always a mixed blessing. On the one hand you sometimes get fantastic deals because the farmers don’t want to have to repack and take home the bits and pieces they have left, so they’ll sell them to you for a fraction of what they were during the day. On the other hand, they’re frequently sold out of whatever it was you actually needed. This is how I ended up with 12 crazy early mostly unripe peaches and then had to figure out what I was going to do with them.

There’s a Melissa Clark recipe for chicken thighs roasted with unripe peaches and ginger and basil that sounds really good, but didn’t fit into my week’s schedule and I didn’t think the peaches would last until I had a chance to try it out (I figure I have another couple of weeks of unripe peaches, so pushing it off doesn’t mean I’m missing my only chance to make it). However, while I was poking around and reading comments on that recipe I ran across someone who said they’d made it with green tomatoes when they couldn’t get firm peaches which got me to thinking about other ways you could substitute green tomatoes for unripe peaches, which led to the stray thought that if you can pickle a green tomato you can probably pickle an unripe peach. Pickling the unripe peach would not only solve the problem of the lack of juiciness, it would in fact take advantage of that very feature. Also, I love me some pickles.

So I cobbled together a refrigerator pickle recipe that combined elements from other pickled fruit recipes, and then I added some calvados because I ran across a bourbon and vanilla pickled peach recipe that sounded good, but was for ripe peaches and also for actual canning which I wasn’t going to do for an experimental whim.

Then since I had green tomatoes on my mind, and I saw them at Wilson’s this weekend I decided to try my hand at a batch of dill pickled green tomatoes. It should also be noted that one of our favorite diners – Zaftigs in Brookline – has a mixed pickle plate that we always order that includes pickled green tomatoes, and the pickled green tomatoes are always the first to disappear off the plate (my roommate has been known to just order pickled green tomatoes to go and bring them home for a treat).

The final verdict on the pickled peaches is that they were tasty – and pickling them was definitely the way to go to make use of 1 lb+ of too early peaches – but they will probably be even better made later in the summer with ripe, sticky sweet peaches. The pickled green tomatoes, on the other hand, were perfect. They were crunchy and just dill-y enough, and I will be making another batch immediately if not sooner.

Molasses & Black Pepper Pulled Chicken
Brussels Sprouts & Apple Slaw
Potato Salad
Spinach Salad w/ Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing
Pickle Experiments (Pickled Peaches, Pickled Green Tomatoes)

Molasses & Black Pepper Pulled Chicken
(serves 10-12 – figure about 1/3 lb raw chicken per person)

Just to be clear, this is barbeque-lite or maybe ‘barbeque’ with the inverted commas in high relief. This is not southern barbeque; it is not slow cooked, fall apart at a whisper of a fork meat, redolent with smoke and hickory. This is crazy simple, calls for nothing you probably don’t already have in your pantry, weeknight, suburban apartment ‘barbeque’. Inverted commas notwithstanding, it is very tasty (and stupid easy – and sometimes life calls for a little stupid easy).

1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup mustard (I like a grainy mustard)
1/3 cup molasses
4 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 ½ tsp black pepper
¾ tsp ground ginger
Zest of an orange
4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat

Combine all the ingredients except the chicken in a dutch oven (or other large pot) and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the sauce and use two forks to shred the meat (I don’t shred too finely for this, I like to leave largish chunks of chicken, but that’s a personal preference). Return to the sauce and adjust seasonings to taste. If the sauce seems a little soupy you can boil it for 5-10 minutes to reduce and thicken before you return the shredded meat to the pan.

You can make this a day in advance and reheat on the stove top (just be careful not to stir too vigorously when you reheat it or your meat will shred down to strands instead of identifiable chunks).

Brussels Sprouts & Apple Slaw
(makes . . . a lot . . . at least enough for 8-10 people to garnish their barbecue and have enough for leftovers)

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and this is a recipe which exemplifies that adage perfectly. This is a recipe that was born of getting home one night and realizing that while slaw was on the menu I had neglected to actually buy any cabbage, and since I’d already changed out of work clothes and into pajamas I was disinclined to go to the grocery store to rectify this situation. What I did have, however, was half a bag of Brussels sprouts and what are Brussels sprouts but mini cabbages? So, I shredded them down on a mandolin, added some grated apple and lots of lemon zest, and was so pleasantly surprised by the result that this make shift slaw has become a regular feature on my table.

2 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and finely shredded (I recommend a mandolin or food processor)
1-2 apples, grated
Handful of dried cranberries or dried cherries, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of two lemons
½ – 2/3 cup plain yogurt (start with less and add more as needed)
2 large spoonfuls grainy mustard
Drizzle of honey (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Potato Salad

Recipe previously given: You Want Me To Do What?

Pickled Peaches

1 pound peaches, sliced off of pit and then into ½” thick wedges
1 ½ tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 (2”) cinnamon sticks
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
3 cloves
½” fresh ginger, peeled & thinly sliced
1 cup white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
¼ cup Calvados (or brandy)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp salt

Slice peaches off pit. Pack into a 1 quart jar. Tuck whole spices, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic in among the wedges.

Combine the vinegar, calvados, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour over the peaches and refrigerate. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for 1-2 days before eating.

Pickled Green Tomatoes
This is basically the same brine recipe as the zucchini pickles that I make sometimes, only a whole lot faster because you don’t have to salt & drain the tomatoes the way you do for zucchini.

1 lb green tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 Tbsp salt
¼ cup (small handful) fresh dill sprigs
½ Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
¾ cup cider vinegar
¾ cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar

Cut your tomatoes into 6-8 wedges/tomato (depending on the size of the tomato). Pack into a 1 qt jar with dill sprigs and mustard seeds. Bring vinegars, sugar and salt to a boil in a small saucepan and stir until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool to room temperature and then pour over the tomatoes. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for 1-2 days before eating.

(Spinach Salad with) Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing

Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing
1 pint fresh strawberries, trimmed (or 8 oz frozen strawberries fully defrosted and drained*)
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 Tbsp white wine vinegar (to taste)
1-2 Tbsp honey (to taste)
4 fresh basil leaves
½ Tbsp poppy seeds

Blend all the ingredients except the poppy seeds until the dressing is smooth and emulsified. Add the poppy seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings with more honey, balsamic, or white wine vinegar to taste.

* I’ll be honest, I’m hard pressed to come up with a reason to use fresh strawberries here when a pint of fresh strawberries costs $4, and a full pound of frozen berries costs $2.99. Plus, I’d rather put the fresh strawberries in the salad itself where I’ll be able to appreciate them.



  1. Umm, have a jar of the salad dressing made for salad tonight. How long do you think a jar of the dressing would last?
    And do you think the chicken will freeze? It looks yummy and super easy.

    • I suspect in the fridge the salad dressing will last a couple of weeks. I also think the chicken will freeze well. It might shred down a little finer when it defrosts, but other than that I don’t think it’ll suffer.

  2. […] Night Dinner « TND – The Experimental Pickle Edition TND – You’re Not Allowed to Laugh July 12, […]

  3. […] Recipe previously given: The Experimental Pickle Edition […]

  4. […] Pickled Green Tomatoes Recipe previously given: The Experimental Pickle Edition […]

  5. […] Recipe previously given:  The Experimental Pickle Edition […]

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