These sandwich pickles are made with cucumbers, salt, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and pink peppercorns—and no vinegar. They’re crisp, herby, and tangy-sour, and make a perfect addition to more than just the occasional ‘wich.
Samuel Monsour | Richard Chudy | American Burger Revival | Union Park Press, 2015
You know you can do better. If ever a pickle were destined to grace your burger, this is probably it. Don’t let your burgers have all the fun—slide these tart and herby sandwich pickles into even your silly little ham and cheese. It deserves this pickle.–Samuel Monsour and Richard Chudy
CAN YOU MAKE PICKLES WITHOUT VINEGAR?
These pickles are made without vinegar, if you can believe that. That’s because they’re made with saltwater, which gives them the classic crunch and sour, salty flavor of old-fashioned deli pickles. It also helps to preserve them in much the same way as vinegar does.
- 1 large English or other seedless cucumber
- 3 sprigs fresh oregano
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole pink peppercorns
- Trim the ends from the cucumber and cut it crosswise into 3 sections. Stand each section upright and slice it lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick (3-mm) slabs.
- Pack the slabs or slices of cucumber and the oregano, thyme, and rosemary in a 1-quart (946 ml) nonreactive container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Pour the water, salt, sugar, and pink peppercorns into a different jar that also has an airtight lid. Shake the mixture until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved, about 1 minute. Pour the pickling liquid into the container with the cucumber and herbs and jiggle it around a little to release any air bubbles. Seal the jar and refrigerate immediately for at least 3 days—and preferably 4 days—before trying them to allow the flavors time to permeate the pickles. These will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (although we’ve not been able to make them last that long).
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These refrigerator sandwich pickles are wonderful! They’re so unique and aromatic.
They take as long to make as it takes to get the ingredients together. They’re the freshest pickles that I’ve ever tasted. I didn’t realize until it was pointed out to me (even though I made them) that these pickles contain no vinegar. I also found that 5 or 6 days in, they were absolutely stunning. These pickles have such an amazing presence that they alone would be capable of elevating an ordinary deli sandwich to a top-shelf menu item.
I had trouble finding pink peppercorns, so I simply weeded them out of a peppercorn medley. Was it worth it? Of course, it was!
The name of this recipe is rather deceiving as it sounds like the kind of novelty-cut pickle you’d just slap on any ole sandwich. Don’t get me wrong, it should definitely be used that way, but the deep herbal flavor and mild brine make these a much more sophisticated option for sandwich stacking.
Once all the ingredients are gathered, the hands-on time was only about 15 minutes. I tried them after 2 days and again after 4. Because the flavor of the brine is fairly mild and doesn’t include vinegar, you have to rely on the salt to transform the cucumber slabs into a delicate pickle. I loved all of the herbal additions, but their flavor was very prominent. Next time I might cut down on how much of each herb I use.
Not only were these very easy and tasty, but the presentation was beautiful, begging me to bring a jar to every outdoor grilling get-together. I tried these on burgers and on grilled Asian chicken sandwiches. I think they’d also be wonderful on a grilled ham and cheese as suggested by the authors.
I didn’t think I wanted a tart and herby pickle, but it turns out that I do. These are absolutely delightful and perfect on a ham or turkey sandwich. Or fished out of the jar with a fork. The cukes remain crisp and pick up enough additional salty, herby flavor without losing their verve.
When packing the jar, be sure to get the cucumbers and herbs interspersed well so that the herbs permeate throughout. My batch didn’t make it the full week, but I can only imagine they get better with time.
These really are so quick and easy to make that there is no excuse for buying pickles anymore. While these were good on their own, I liked them better when they were paired with other ingredients to round them out a little, such as on a sandwich. I didn’t find English cucumber at the farmers’ market, so I used Persian cucumbers, which are nearly seedless.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
These yummy, mildly herby sandwich pickles are a version of the half-sour pickles that you might find in that rarity, a true Jewish deli.
I used a mandoline to slice my cucumbers, so they came out a tiny bit thinner than indicated, but it was so easy. I used a 1-quart Mason jar, and I was able to pack about 1 1/2 English cucumbers in it. I added Maldon sea salt and unrefined cane sugar to my solution. After filling the jar with the liquid, stick a butter knife or chopstick down the side of the jar to release air bubbles. Gently tap the jar against the counter to settle the ingredients. Now, you’ll probably have to add more water solution to make sure the cukes are submerged.
That’s all it takes—well, that and a bit of waiting—to make yummy sandwich pickles.