People used to pickle everything. You kind of had to if you wanted to not starve in the colder months. Which leads to the question: why is pickling still relatively prevalent in the South where the colder months aren’t as cold? These, of course, are the answers we may never know.
What we do know is that pickles are totally delicious. On occasion I choose to pickle things; last night, it was cherries. They were less than stellar in their raw state & I wasn’t snacking on them anyway (their intended purpose); I toasted black peppercorns with whole coriander and caraway seeds, added 1 part sugar to 3 parts vinegar, threw in the halved, pitted cherries & a pinch of salt and brought it all to a boil. Then I poured the batch into a jar over a large sprig of rosemary. Totally unnecessarily, but in a fit of inspiration I topped it off with Maraschino liqueur. The marinating cherries sat on my counter for a few hours before the need to taste overwhelmed me. Bright & tart, slightly sweet and faintly spicy the cherries adopted a ruby glow. I then patted myself on the back for being sort of awesome.
Next on the agenda was to find a way to serve them for dinner. Some baby greens: one mustardy and spicy, the other bitter and grassy dressed in olive oil, cherry balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and bacon marmalade.
And now, a moment for bacon marmalade. I am amazed by the number of “foodies” to whom I mention this product only to be met with blank stares. My grandmother, rightfully so, likened it to “bacon caviar” upon her first taste of the stuff. If you are in New York and you haven’t tried it yet, get to the Hester or Brooklyn Flea and pick up a jar stat. It’s also available at Whisk, a kitchen supply store in Williamsburg. If you decide to go the route of direct contact with them, could you ask that they start selling the spicy again, I need it.
Finished off with some toasted, spiced pecans and my salad was a salad. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “That is a delightful Fall salad…too bad it’s spring.” And you’re right. It’s totally a Fall salad. I’m sorry.