Garlic Sour Pickles
Coffee: Pure Black
There’s practically nothing you can pull off a grill that doesn’t benefit from a side of crisp sour pickles laced with garlic. This is a simple summer fresh version of pickles, not the kind you “put up” to eat through the winter. Basically, they require enough time to drink in the right kind of flavor; we make them at least 24 hours in advance, and keep in a cooler to use at will. The vegetables are cut to increase surface area for faster pickling, and the pickles left in the brine will just keep getting better until they are gone. That won’t be long.
3 pounds Kirby cucumbers, scrubbed clean (about a dozen 4-inch long cukes, firm and as dark green as possible)
About 6 nice bushy stems of dill
10 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons kosher salt
3 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Trim 1/8 to 1/4-inch off the tips of the cucumbers, and quarter them lengthwise. Arrange the cucumber quarters in an even layer in a tall-sided casserole or Tupperware container, working in batches if necessary. (The cucumbers can only be stacked up into two layers to ensure that the brine covers them for even pickling.) Lay the dill sprigs over the cucumbers, and set aside.
Add the remaining ingredients to a medium-sized saucepot, and bring to a boil. Pour over the cucumbers, and push them around a little so the brine is coating all surfaces. Cover, and set aside to cool to room temperature or for about an hour.
Remove the lid, and place a piece of plastic film directly onto the surface of the cucumbers, pushing down so there is no air in between the cukes and the plastic. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using.