When I was a kid we would trek from our home in central Massachusetts to my grandparent’s house just beyond the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York, and the only thing that made those long rides (that my dad insisted on making in the dead of night) bearable were our pitstops at Rein’s Deli in Vernon, Connecticut.
This small slice of New York City off of highway 84 is packed at any given hour, and serves Jewish deli classics that are at the foundation of both my love of food and the size of my hips. It is also where I had my first pickle. A mouth puckering, salty, crunchy, half sour gem.
Half sour pickles are not as ubiquitous as their kosher dill brethren, but they are in my opinion, superior. Whether on their own as a snack or as a sandwich companion, it doesn’t matter. With a kick from the whole peppercorns, a touch of dill, and a hefty amount of salt, these are impossibly easy to make. I have a hard time not eating the whole jar in one sitting…but that’s just me.
These may not be exactly like Rein’s, but they can certainly satisfy my cravings in between trips through Connecticut.
6-8 pickling cucumbers (any of the thin skinned, mostly seedless varietals will do)
4 cups water
1/4 cup kosher sea salt
1/3 cup white distilled vinegar
1/4 tablespoon white peppercorns
1/4 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/4 tablespoon coriander seeds
a fistful of dill (this amount should really be based on your preference)
- Combine the water, salt, and vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil until salt is fully dissolved. Let mixture cool, then stir in the spices and dill.
- Slice cucumbers down the middle or into spears, and pack into a mason jar (or an old pickle jar–waste not want not). When you have packed half the jar, pour in some of the cool pickling liquid. Fill the rest of the jar with cucumbers, so there is little or no space between them. Pour the rest of the pickling liquid in leaving about a quarter inch of space at the top of the jar (you may have excess liquid. If so, fish out the spices and add them to the jar and discard the liquid).
- Place in fridge for 24 hours, shaking the jar occasionally. Pickles will last up to 3 weeks.