What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten? Tonight, I ate pickles and peas for dinner. Yes, sliced kosher dill pickles and frozen peas.
Lately, the combination of working at the restaurant and moving into a new place for the summer has forced me to take a temporary cooking hiatus. My vintage Revereware pots and pans have been allocated to large liquor cases I procured for free from the ABC store; and without new groceries for 2 weeks, my fridge has turned into a chilled, barren box. I was left with the dregs of my food supplies and one accessible pot. This disorienting situation pushed my creative limits, and is probably what propelled me to reach for the pickles and peas. I should switch my degree to Thrifty Ingenuity instead of Government – seems more apt for me.
I love pickles, but I regularly throw the juice down the sink once I am finished eating them. Saving the juice never seemed worth it - what a waste. Some people claim that it works miracles on muscle cramps and hangovers, while others believe that it is relegated only to the weird cravings of pregnant women and the drunken dares of peers. There must be a way to incorporate pickle juice into cooking. After all, it's just water, vinegar (acetic acid), calcium chloride, salt, and some flavorings like dill and garlic. That’s it? I could work with that.
Frustrated with my lack of food, I finally settled for frozen peas. For a pre-dinner snack (if you can call peas ‘dinner’), I retrieved the pickle jar from the fridge. Crunching on a kosher dill pickle, I wondered how pickles would taste with peas. Peas are pretty good, pickles are way good, and I already had dill weed in the peas. Peas and pickle juice, why not. I hesitantly added the briny liquid to the peas as they were simmering. The combination created a very green, grassy, and salty taste. The great thing about peas is that they will pleasantly absorb any flavor they come into contact with.
Some might think that making a dish with pickles, peas, dill weed, pickle juice, garlic, and unsalted butter sounds desperate. I found it an amusing and unique side dish. I would pair it with fish or chicken – some sort of light meat – or perhaps incorporate some navy beans and make it a stew or soup. I did not use a recipe, or measure anything out. But here is a rough estimate:
Pickles and Peas
1 cup peas, frozen
1 T butter, unsalted
¼ cup pickle juice
1 tsp dried dill weed
½ clove garlic, finely diced
4-5 pickles, sliced
1. Place everything but the pickles into small saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer.
2. Continue to simmer about 5-7 minutes. (Let most of the liquid simmer off)
3. Add sliced pickles right before serving.
Makes about 1 cup.