Sometimes, you just don’t have time to wait around for your pickles to pickle before you can eat them. For those times, there’s quick pickles. Well, quick enough, anyway…
These are my favorite quick pickles to make — deliciously tangy in just a few hours and scrumptiously served with the barbecue platter of your choice. I especially like them with Korean short ribs, where the sweet ‘n spiciness pairs well with a red pepper marinade. They also make a good, crunchy side snack for friends who don’t like kimchi.
You can start them in the afternoon while you prep the rest of your dinner, and by evening they’ll be ready right before the ribs (or the Asian flank steak, or even the Argentinian milanesa) come out.
Quick Pickled Sweet ‘n Spicy Radishes
Makes 1 quart and 1 pint
1 to 2 bunches large radishes, leaves removed
1 cup black rice vinegar (or seasoned rice vinegar)
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pickling salt
Any type of radish will work for this recipe, but I find that larger radishes are easier to handle and slice. I used Long Black Spanish radish and Purple Plum radish because I love the contrasting colors of the skins (which I keep unpeeled), but you can use traditional red radishes or even daikon. The type of radish you choose will determine how spicy your sweet ‘n spicy pickles turn out.
Thoroughly wash and scrub your radishes. Remove the leaves and save them for a salad or a soup. (Quick tip: Make my pea shoot salad with radish and carrot to accompany your meal, and use the pickled radishes in lieu of regular radishes. Heck, go wild and pickle the carrot strips too!)
Using a mandoline, slice the radishes into paper thin slices. (If using smaller radishes, you can simply halve or quarter them.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the black rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, water, sugar and salt until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Pack the radishes tightly into jars, and pour the vinegar mixture over all the slices so they’re completely submerged.
Let the radishes pickle at room temperature for at least three hours. Thin slices will be pickled the same day, while halves or quarters should be pickled a day ahead for the best flavor.