APRIL 2017 – Do you love pickles? No, not those warm jarred pickles you find on a grocery store shelf, but wonderfully fresh produce — spring onions, cucumbers and the like — that you can quickly pickle in a way to preserve the flavor of those ingredients. At Cindy’s, chef de cuisine Keith Potter, loves to showcase the pickles he and his team make in-house.
While working alongside renowned chef Paul Virant at Perennial Virant, who literally wrote the book on pickling called Preservation Kitchen, Potter learned incredibly useful skills and techniques that he continues to use in his cooking today. But as Potter says, if you don’t have good ingredients, it doesn’t matter how good your pickle recipe is.
“You may have the best recipe and technique, but with poor-quality ingredients all is for naught,” Potter said. “Paul [Virant] always sourced and foraged the best local produce imaginable, which we do as well at Cindy’s.”
Potter has close working relationships with a number of local farms, including Green Acres, Nichols Farm and Orchard, Leaning Shed and Klug Farm and the Chef’s Garden, to obtain the best possible ingredients to build his menus. He’ll soon stock up on ramps, asparagus and peas, three favorite spring vegetables, and start preserving them through quick pickling to keep and serve once they’re no longer in season. He and the team use champagne vinegar, organic sugar, water and a small addition of seasonings and salt to can capture the height of the spring season and keep it until the next seasonal menu turn. Why? ” I like the duo of the fresh vegetable plated and enhanced along with it’s pickled counterpart,” Potter said.
So what should you get excited for? Pork belly confit paired with fried rice that’s made with pickled snow peas, lemon pickled Tokyo turnips (both which come from a recipe in Preservation Kitchen) and a fresh pea shoot salad. Don’t let the spring menus pass you by. If you do, don’t worry. With the pickles, you’ll continue enjoying spring for many months to come.