IN A PICKLE
The polarising condiment is becoming kind of a big dill
Our ode to the most polarising condiment.
There are two types of people in this world: those who would happily slurp on a pickle juice slushie, and those for whom that would constitute a very bad time. But it’s not just your farm-to-table-preaching friend who falls into the former: Pinterest saves for pickle recipes are up 114 per cent since this time last year, and market research company Technavio has estimated that the global pickle market will be worth $17 billion by 2020.
While the flavour is turning up everywhere – in potato chips, vodka, iceblocks, beer and the aforementioned slushie (a creation of American fast-food chain Sonic Drive-in) – pickled cucumbers and gherkins (a miniature variety of cucumbers) are increasingly finding their way onto menus as a standalone dish, and the incarnations are unlimited – whether pickled traditionally in vinegar, infused with wild flavours, deep fried or dipped in sauces.
According to Uber Eats, Melburnians binge on pickles the most, followed by those in Sydney (where Butter’s tangy version are a crowd fave on the food delivery platform), Adelaide (ditto The Flying Fig Deli’s take), Perth and Brisbane (where gastro pub Hop & Pickle’s beer battered pickles with red pepper jam and aioli are the city’s most-ordered) . “Pickles certainly have that ‘vegemite’ element – you either love or hate them,” says Hop & Pickle’s owner Adam Mcwhinnie. “Sometimes they fly out, sometimes they are a tough sell, but we have regulars who will order them every time.”
For Alex Elliott-howery, co-owner of Sydney institution Cornersmith Cafe & Picklery, and author of the cookbook, Cornersmith: Salads & Pickles ($39.99, Murdoch Books), the obsession for all things pickled goes back to childhood, when she used to eat pickled onions out of the jar. She says she now does the same with pickled cucumbers or gherkins most days, after a breakfast that involves them, “thinly sliced with good-quality cheese on toasted rye”.
Yet to be converted? She believes incorporating them, thinly sliced, into a creamy potato salad with lots of herbs, is the gamechanger, as the potatoes and cream balance the acidity. Those who prefer baby steps should try her hack for an inspired tipple. “I often put a slice of pickle in a martini,” says Elliott-howery. “It’s an excellent alternative to an olive.” Bottoms up.
“YOU EITHER LOVE THEM OR HATE THEM”