Pickling recipes and tips from local chefs
Brad Rowell’s pickled cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons fennel seed
Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Make a small x on the bottom of each tomato and blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 5 seconds. Transfer immediately to ice water.
Bring vinegar, water, and sugar, to a boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a nonreactive container just large enough to hold them. Add thyme, chili flakes, fennel seeds, and garlic to tomatoes and pour hot liquid over to cover.
Allow tomatoes to cool; cover and refrigerate. The tomatoes will keep for up to one month.
Rowell is chef at Elm Street Bakery and a graduate of the French Culinary Institute. His work experience ranges from an oyster shucker at Jax Fish House in Boulder, Colorado, to chef de cuisine at Colt and Gray in Denver, where Denver Magazine named him rising star chef. His Buffalo restaurant resume also includes time at Daniel’s as a line cook, and serving as Park Country Club’s executive sous chef.
Edward Forster’s pickling favorites
“I use a standard pickling ratio as my base of two parts vinegar, one sugar, one water,” says Forster. “For most things I boil the three ingredients and pour the liquid over the product.”
Here are some of his favorite combinations:
Smoked cucumber pickles
Brine sliced coins of cucumbers in a 7% salt brine (7g salt to 100 water, used as a ratio) for one hour. Then drain and cold smoke with applewood chips. Pour the liquid over, and they’re ready to eat the next day. They will hold in the refrigerator for at least one month.
“I really enjoyed the lemon cucumbers I got last year, but I have yet to find anyone in Buffalo who has been successful growing them,” said Forster, who likes the smoked pickles many ways. He recommends them on a burger, on a Cuban sandwich, or to garnish a roasted swordfish dish with golden raisins and cauliflower.
Pickled butternut squash bulbs
“I save the bodies for roasted squash and use the bulbs for pickle,” said Forster.
Peel the thick exterior skin off with a potato peeler and slice as thinly as possible. In the pickling liquid, in the jar, add a bit of yuzu kosho paste, a ½ teaspoon per one quart of pickling liquid. Also in the jar, add two 6” sticks of licorice root.
Forster suggests using them in a dish with braised farrow and chicken, and maybe some braised greens. They also work nicely as a garnish for butternut squash soup.
Forster is chef at Blood and Sand and founder of his dynamic restaurant concept, The Workshop. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Forster worked for Jean Georges in London at his Vong. After returning to Buffalo, he met Chef Mike Andrzejewski while working at Oliver’s. He spent three years with Georges Perrier’s fleet of restaurants in Philadelphia and Atlantic City, and then in Chicago at Blackbird. Before Blood and Sand, he opened Mike A at the Lafayette Hotel, with Andrezejewski.