Aug. 17, 2012 at 10:09 AM ET
Pickling has been around for over 4,000 years, but the preserving practice is enjoying a bit of a renaissance on restaurant menus across the country. Pickles are popping up on more than a third of menus — a 13.2 percent jump from 2008, according to Datassential. Chefs are going way beyond the store-bought stuff, pickling their own concoctions in-house with ingredients as diverse as okra, ramps, and even watermelon rind. The dishes may sound intimidating, but the technique — which calls for mostly vinegar, salt and sugar — is not.
Get in on the pickling trend at home with the recipes below. Whether drizzled on top of tacos or served with ice cream, these briny toppers and sides will put a simple yet flavorful spin on standard dishes. Your guests will never know how easy it actually is to pickle (and we won't tell).
Steak and ice cream with pickled sour cherries
Crisp chicken banh mi with chili mayonnaise and pickled vegetables
Wagyu skirt steak with pickled jalapeno and green tomato chimichurri
Marinated shrimp, watermelon and tomato salad and pickled red onion tacos
Fish tacos with chipotle remoulad and pickled cabbage
Latin burgers with caramelized onion, jalapeno relish and avocado sauce