by Christine Liu - 156 Reviews - 111 List
Pickles in the morning, pickles in the evening, pickles at suppertime--there's no better time than now to be a pickle fanatic (and that includes me; my fridge is pictured). Chefs and kitchens all over Boston are going pickle-crazy, glamorizing the down-home art of food preservation via salt, vinegar and fistfuls of carefully chosen spices. From cucumbers to plums and peppers to lemons, there's plenty of reasons to pucker.
(Photo: Moon Brine pickles by Christine Liu)
Updated: November 20, 2009
This petite grocery dedicated to super-local products stocks Moon Brine, a brand of all-natural pickles borne from the pickle-love of self-confessed "pickle man" Stewart Golomb. Zealots are so addicted to these pickles--choose from Super Dill! or Pretty Hot! varieties--that their fervor extends nearly to religion. Refrigerated and hand-packed, the pickles are fresher than any of the packaged kinds you've snapped or snacked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, they definitely would find their way to the table at this pub: House-made pickled cherry peppers, tossed with crispy fried calamari and served with lemony arugula and chipotle aioli, imbue a piquant pucker. Additionally, the pickling brine, with hints of onions and spice, is mixed into the dish to really hit that spicy-and-sour note home.
You never know what might be pickling in the kitchen of this retro-tastic Asian diner, its walls scrawled with cheeky "Confucius say" hipster proverbs. Whether served as a dim sum Asian pickle plate or a garnish to a fiery stir-fry, the seasonal array includes pickled plums, pickled apples and pears, plus carrot-daikon pickle, cauliflower pickle, pickled jalapenos and pickled cucumbers. Whew.
Any restaurant with a dedicated "pickling program" deserves our highest, saltiest, sourest kudos. The seasonal, locally sourced, house-made pickles--including green and yellow beans, carrots, cauliflower, peppers, beets and cucumbers--serve as a freebie snack during lunch and dinner. Keep your eyes peeled for sweet-pickled cherries, figs, grapes and peaches to lace desserts and cocktails.
Add super-sour fruit with fragrant spices and a good dose of salt and you get preserved lemon, one of the most extreme flavor-on-flavor pickles around. Usually found dotting fiery plates at Indian meals, preserved lemon can be procured at this spice market in myriad jars and brands--not to mention other pickled items like lime, garlic, carrot, chile, mango or coriander leaf, all properly potent.