Even before the economy took a nose-dive, the art of pickling and preserving was making a comeback. Credit the popularity of brasseries and gastropubs and their necessary charcuterie plates, laden with salumi and little jars of rillettes and pâtés. Pots of mustard and pickled market vegetables are as expected as slices of baguette and an appetite. As your grandmother will tell you, pickling at home is deceptively easy, and these days it's on the to-do list at most restaurants. Casey Lane of the Tasting Kitchen on Abbot Kinney took some time recently to give us a quick pickling demo in his soon-to-be-refurbished kitchen.
“It's that old handcrafted food thing coming back,” said Lane as he assembled pickling ingredients. “We do a lot of really goofy stuff. We butcher our own animals; we pickle pigs feet from time to time.” These days Lane is pickling Fresno chiles, cucumbers, gherkins, onions and Lily's eggs, the recipe for which he shared with us.
Pickled eggs and onions
From: Casey Lane of The Tasting Kitchen. Lane says that you can trade out ingredients, substituting different herbs and spices, depending on what you want to pickle. This brine can be used to pickle any number of ingredients. Taste the brine, says Lane, “whatever you taste is what's going on.”
Note: To properly hard-boil eggs, put them into a pot of cold water, turn the heat on high, bring to a boil and boil for about 7 minutes. Shock the eggs in an ice bath. The yolks of the eggs should be a vibrant orange.
1 yellow onion, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 tablespoons mustard seeds
12 allspice berries
10 sprigs of thyme
3 cups Champagne vinegar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2/3 cup of salt
1. Hard-boil the eggs (see headnote).
2. Place onions, peppercorns, mustard seeds, thyme and allspice into a 1 quart pickling jar. Peel the eggs and place them, whole into the jar along with the other ingredients.
3. Put the vinegars, sugar and salt into a medium-sized stainless steel sauce pot and bring to a simmer.
4. Pour the hot brine into the picking jar over the eggs and onions, completely covering the ingredients. Close the lid and allow the ingredients to cool. Let the pickling eggs sit for about 7 days before serving.