My vegetable bin often contains what I call “sad” vegetables. Perhaps the cucumbers or the celery aren’t crisp or there are one or two unloved radishes or carrots left over. Combining sea salt with water and spices to make a brining solution is a delicious way to extend the life of your vegetables. The combination of salt, black pepper and sugar provides a spicy, sultry burst of flavor that tickles your tongue.
Brining the vegetables also gives them a savory flavor, a vibrant color and preserves them. Just trim off the brown spots and remove any wilted leaves first. Brining also provides me with a new way to save money by preserving vegetables that typically would be placed in the compost bin.
This recipe for Pickled Cucumber and Radish Salad uses a quick salt brining technique that’s perfect for 1 1/2 pounds of any combination of your favorite neglected vegetables–even if you don’t have cucumbers and radishes.
Pickled Cucumber and Radish Salad
Makes 4 servings
6 cups water
1 teaspoon stevia
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 lb Kirby cucumbers
1/2 lb radishes, trimmed and quartered
1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Boil water, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, and 3 tablespoons salt in a 4-quart pot, uncovered, 10 minutes.
While brine is boiling, halve cucumbers lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices.
Remove brine from heat and add cucumbers and radishes. Let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes, then drain in a colander, discarding garlic and peppercorns. Transfer cucumbers and radishes to a bowl of ice and cold water to cool, then drain well in colander.
Toss cucumbers and radishes with parsley, oil, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and chill, uncovered, about 20 minutes. The salad can be made ahead and refrigerated. Delicious when served with broiled or pan-seared fish.
The Kitchen Diva is Angela Shelf Medearis, a regular guest chef on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Today Show.” She is the author of many cookbooks, including, “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” She blogs for Vitacost.com and Momonomics.com on a weekly basis.