Inspired to Make Pickles

June 29 2009, 9:44 AM

At the Food & Wine Classic a week ago, I attended one of Iron Chef Michael Symon's cooking demonstrations. Titled "In Praise of Pork," the Cleveland chef instructed the audience in braising pork belly and pickling green tomatoes for his souped-up BBLT (belly, bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwiches. While the seminar's star ingredient was pork, I was taken by Symon's use of pickles. As he spoke about how the brine and tang of preserved veggies like green tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, ramps, and zucchini, balance and cut fatty ingredients like pork belly, I vowed to make pickles. Over the weekend, I did just that--using a quick-acting recipe from YumSugar.com, though I subbed red bell peppers for cucumbers. The final product: delicious. The Iron Chef, it turns out, has a cookbook (Michael Symon's Live to Cook: Recipes and Techniques to Rock Your Kitchen) coming out in November (I've already pre-ordered it), and while much of it will be devoted to the mighty pig, he also has a chapter on pickling.