Pounding the garlic helps to distribute its flavor fully throughout this relish.
Time required: 15 minutes active; 20 minutes plus 3 days passive
Yield: 1 pint
- 1 pound pickling or Persian cucumbers (about 6), peeled
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
- 1 small, fresh mild red chile (such as a Fresno), seeded and quartered, then sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
Sterilize a 1-pint mason jar and its lid with boiling water. Drain them and air-dry.
Cut the cucumbers into quarters lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut each quarter lengthwise in half and then dice it into 1/4-inch pieces. If using plump pickling cucumbers, you will need to cut them one more time lengthwise to get a 1/4-inch dice. Put the cucumbers in a strainer and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the salt over them. Toss with your hands to distribute, and let the cucumbers drain for about 30 minutes. Squeeze and massage the cucumbers with your hands once or twice during this time to help them release their liquid.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring 1/4 cup water, the vinegar, sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
Pound the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle.
Remove the vinegar mixture from the heat and stir in the garlic.
Pack the drained cucumbers, the chile, and dill into the mason jar. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over them and fasten the lid. Refrigerate for 3 days to blend the flavors. The relish will remain crisp with the flavor of garlic and spices permeating the cucumbers. It will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.
Excerpted from D.I.Y. Delicious: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Food From Scratch by Vanessa Barrington. Copyright © 2010 by Vanessa Barrington. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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