Monday, May 19, 2014

Creole Pickled Squash: A Perfect Summer Topping

Credit where credit's due: I first had pickled squash on a burger at Toups' Meatery in New Orleans. And ever since, I've been in love. These briny morsels have a certain je ne sais quoi that brings the burger home. And with that sharp, juicy flavor, you wouldn't be blamed for snacking straight out of the jar.

When I was searching around for a great recipe, I was thrilled to happen upon Acadiana Table, whom I recognized from their recent SAVEUR nomination. And I was even happier when I adapted their recipe (with a few tweaks) and found it to be fantastic.

So here's how you do it—picking, canning, and all.

Creole Pickled Squash
(adapted from Acadiana Table)
Yield: two 16 oz. jars

3 yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/8 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cup cider vinegar (couldn't find sugarcane vinegar, despite living in Louisiana...)
1/2 tablespoon brown mustard seed
1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup sugar
2 16-oz jars
1 medium saucepan
1 large saucepan

1. Combine squash and onions in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables. Stir, then cover and refrigerate for one hour.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring vinegars, spices, and salt to a boil (stirring to combine). Take squash and onions out of refrigerator. Rinse off salt and add to vinegar mixture. When the liquids have returned to a boil, turn off heat and let sit for thirty minutes.
3. Meanwhile, remove lids and rings from the jars and place all components in the large stockpot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, sterilizing jars for five minutes.
4. Use tongs to remove the jars from the stockpot and place upside-down on a clean dish towel.
5. Once the squash is done pickling, lade it into the sterilized jars. Twist on lids. Return the water in the stockpot to a boil. Use tongs to return jars to the water. Lower heat to a simmer and process jars for ten minutes. Remove jars using tongs and let cool.

Recommendation: Burger topping! I made my patties with a 4-to-1 ratio of ground beef and pork sausage, and included shallots, thyme, oregano, and egg. Served on a kaiser roll with herbed aioli. It was delicious.