By Laura Grimes,
aided and abetted by Bob Hicks
Grand Unsealing of the Pickles day, known to the rest of America as Thanksgiving, went splendidly in the Scatter Household.
Mr. and Mrs. Scatter lined up a variety of preserves vintage 2010 for their first tasting to determine whether they’re naughty or nice. They carefully sniffed, twirled, nibbled, chewed and swallowed. They unanimously agreed that it is the crunchiest vintage yet for the spicy dills and sweet pickles. They suspect it’s because the cucumbers were fresh and firm, and the ones that weren’t sliced were stabbed, allowing the brine to fully penetrate (they can’t believe they typed that either).
The Scatters discussed the merits of each pickle varietal. Here are their tasting notes.
The signature bad boys in the big quart jars. The ones in hot demand. The ones that get traded as currency and wrapped specially for Christmas. They get specialty treatment with garlic, bay leaf, mustard seed and hot red pepper, both for taste and for looks.
Tasting notes: Slightly sour with a pungent hit of vinegar. Nice hotness. Prickly but not searing. Not shy.
Complements: Bagels and cream cheese or tuna fish salad. Mr. Scatter: Excellent for Stroganoff or Hungarian pickle soup (so highbrow). Mrs. Scatter: Peanut butter, potato chip and pickle sandwiches (so otherwise).
Naughty or nice? Nice with spice (Mrs. Scatter likes more).
Limited amount makes these a hot commodity. The spears are sliced long and thin and fit perfectly in extra-tall jars recycled from the huge quantity of ranch dressing that Oscar/Dennis consumes daily. These are not given away lightly. People have to beg while kneeling on gravel, but even then it’s no guarantee.
Tasting notes: Slightly sweet in a turmeric sort of way, but still has the sour so makes your brain feel like it’s at a ping pong match.
Complements: Straight or with bagels and cream cheese.
Naughty or nice? Nice. Always. But don’t get carried away.
It’s love at first bite. Everyone falls for this. Even people who don’t like pickles. These little jars packed with soft, cooked apples are like most relationships. They’re complicated. They’re made sweet and zingy with ingredients that are seemingly opposite: brown sugar and garlic, raisins and mustard seeds. Mr. and Mrs. Scatter get asked for the recipe so often, they have extra copies in the cookbook.
Tasting notes: Irresistibly tangy, so gets taste buds in a twist. It’s like fireworks on your tonsils. (We’d say it shatters the glass on the orgasmatron, but that would be a stretch.)
Complements: Everything. Just eat it out of the jar. Spread it on sandwiches. Serve it raw as an appetizer with cream cheese and Ritz. Put on mini-pizzas made with naan bread and chevre.
Naughty or nice? Nice. Real nice. More, please.
DILL GREEN CHERRY TOMATOES
This was the first time Mr. and Mrs. Scatter made these, desperate to use pounds and pounds of unripened produce. They turned out fine, but next time a spicy pepper will add some zip.
Tasting notes: Squishy and soft. Pleasant herbal notes, easy on the palate, but lacks pepper kick. Goes down easy.
Complements: Not-so-virgin Bloody Marys. Salad kebobs (see photo).
Naughty or nice? Naughty, but in a good way.
Practice safe snacking!
Always use a condiment.
ILLUSTRATION: Salad kebobs made with dill pickled green cherry tomatoes, fresh red cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and water cress.