By Andrew Z. Galarneau
Here's a relatively simple recipe excerpted from Edward Lee's "Smoke & Pickles," featured in today's Buffalo News.
Picked Jasmine Peaches with Star Anise
Makes 2 quarts
You need to flavor your pickles, but it’s a hassle to strain out or remove loose spices that you don’t want to eat. Using tea bags is the perfect solution—they are packed with flavor. You can steep the pickle liquid just like you would a cup of tea; then, when the pickles are ready, you can just toss out the tea bags. Of course, use only high-quality tea.
This pickle screams for a nice, fatty pork dish, but it’s great with the gaminess of lamb and goat too. Or serve it with an aged sheep’s-milk cheese and some crusty bread for a refreshing version of a cheese plate.
2 pounds slightly underripe peaches
1 cup champagne vinegar
1 cup water
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 star anise
2 Serrano chili peppers, sliced in half
3 jasmine tea bags
1. Peel the peaches with a vegetable peeler. Slice into wedges, discarding the pits. Pack into a large glass jar or other heatproof container.
2. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and star anise in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the hot liquid over the peaches and add the peppers and the tea bags. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.
3. Remove and discard the tea bags after 1 day. The peaches will be ready after 2 days, and they will keep for up to 3 weeks.
(Excerpted from Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee (Artisan Books). Copyright ©2013.)