Summer is in full swing. The days of the late night barbecues are here. Instead of sticking to the same old summer salmon recipes we know by heart, this month we will consider this lowly ingredient: Vinegar.
Vinegar is key to the art of pickling. And by pickling, I am not talking about the labor-intensive canning that we normally do in the fall. This is easy pickling in your refrigerator. It takes just a few hours, and adds a whole lot of zing to your everyday meal.
When you think of coleslaw you probably don’t think of a pickling process. But in essence, that is really what you are doing. OK, if you go the mayonnaise route you are not, but who likes a gooey, drippy, and separated slaw anyway?
I prefer a good coleslaw prepared with vinegar. That “bitey” finish to the crunchy texture seems to add to every dish it is paired with. You can even travel with pickled treats, as they are preserved in the short term, ready to be added to your wilderness feast. Try to think of this delicious cabbage mixture in a different way. Don’t just dismiss it as a side dish. Add it to your pulled-pork sliders, or even a judicious amount on a burger. The resulting complementary flavors will amaze you.
This month we feature several recipes: my Flying Chef Cole Slaw and a red cabbage and bacon recipe that I hope will soon be your go-to salads.
Cucumbers are in season and my journeys to Japan have produced a delicious variant of this treat from the land of the Rising Sun.
I also recently toyed with red onion and jalapeños in a cider vinegar that produced great results.
Pickling is easy; add some spice and flavor to your meals. It is so simple and holds in the fridge for weeks. Be that person who brings the dish to your outing
that everyone wants the recipe for. The key ingredient will be vinegar, a taste so bright it matches the radiance of the Midnight Sun.
— Mark Bly The Flying Chef
PURPLE SLAW WITH WARM BACON DRESSING
1 head of fresh purple cabbage
1 sweet red pepper
1⁄2 pound of bacon
1⁄4 cup of cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice bacon in to 1⁄4 inch tidbits. Place in to cold pan and sauté over medium heat until brown and deliciously crispy.
In the meantime thinly slice the cabbage and pepper. Place sliced items in a glass or plastic (non-reactive bowl) When bacon is done drain half the fat and add the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over cabbage in bowl and toss to coat evenly. Plate and enjoy.
THE FLYING CHEF TOUCHDOWN SLAW
1 medium red onion
Procedure: Shred cabbage Thinly slice onion
1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon dries mustard 1 teaspoon celery seed 1 cup vinegar (I sometimes use cider
vinegar) 2/3 cup vegetable oil
Procedure: Combing cabbage and onion. In a medium saucepan combing all dressing ingredients and bring to a boil. Immediately turn off heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Pour over cabbage. Cover bowl and relegate overnight. Stir it up from the bottom once or twice. Remove from fridge and drain.
THE FLYING CHEF JAPANESE CUCUMBER SALAD
1 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Nori (a Japanese seasoning) or 2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground or crushed dried chili pepper (or to taste)
1 Mason-type jar or plastic container will do as well, no metal.
Procedure: Trim the ends of the cucumbers. Slice cucumbers in half. Then slice in half again lengthways. Then slice in to thirds lengthways. Now slice the cucumber in to thirds again, this time perpendicular so you end up with chunks. Place cucumber chunks in to your jar.
Now add remaining ingredients. Close the lid and shake to mix. Leave in refrigerator overnight or up to 4 days.
Shake or invert the jar once in a while. Enjoy.
QUICK FIRE PICKLED RED ONIONS AND JALAPEÑOS
1 red onion
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon of sugar
2 Tablespoons of salt
In a sauce pan over medium heat combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt.
Bring to a boil and them reduce to a simmer until all solids are dissolved.
Slice the onion in half, and in half again. Thinly slice once more. Slice the jalapeños in to rounds and remove seeds until your level of heat is achieved. Seeds equal hot!
Place onion and pepper in a mason gar and then pour liquid on top.
Let sit for one hour uncovered and then secure lid and place in refrigerator.
Eat right away or leave in fridge for a week.
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