At any given moment, my fridge is about 15% pickles. This may not sound that impressive, but it translates to at least four or five jars, which is a respectable — though not excessive — amount. I appreciate all kinds, from the simple fridge pickle to a true lacto-fermented cucumber (or some other vegetable). I even like those ranch pickles Joel and I made the other day.
Those ranch pickles got me thinking: What other seasoning blends could I add to a jar of humble grocery store pickles to give them more pizzaz? Old Bay immediately came to mind. I put two tablespoons of the red herb and spice mixture into a jar of store-bought dill spears, closed the jar, shook it up, and stuck it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, I pulled a pickle out from the rusty red brine and took a bite. The flavour of celery salt was immediately apparent. The other spices were there, but not as prominently, and it was all very salty (in a good way).
It is the perfect Bloody Mary pickle, sharp and vibrant — the Old Bay somehow accentuates the vinegar, giving it zip, pep, and some va-va-voom. If you’re concerned about your pickles being “too salty” — a feeling I’ve never felt! — you can always use reduced sodium Old Bay but, again, I have always loved an aggressively salty pickle.
Once the pickles have been consumed, keep the brine around for a bit. I think it will make an excellent addition to a Bloody Mary, or a good brine for a really filthy martini. You can also save it and use it to make more pickles or, if you’re real brine head like me, strain our the little bits it and drink it straight. (Haters will say that’s gross, but it really helps with my headaches!)