Save that brine: It makes great vinaigrette. Photo courtesy Rick’s Picks.
Here’s another condiment tip from chef Johnny Gnall:
PICKLING BRINE + OIL = VINAIGRETTE
It couldn’t be simpler: The next time you finish a jar of your favorite pickled treat, be it jalapeños, pepperoncinis or good, old-fashioned dill pickles, save the brine for vinaigrettes.
Depending on how much flavoring inclusions it contains (peppercorns, garlic cloves and so forth) you may want to strain the brine. Or you may like the rustic texture and the flavor they impart, in which case, keep them.
Then, substitute the brine for everyday vinegar and make a salad dressing with a unique and pleasing punch. Standard vinaigrette proportion: 1 tablespoon vinegar or other acid and three tablespoons oil.
Bear in mind, you may find more flavorful results with brines from smaller, more artisan brands. Typical supermarket brands use brines that are overly salty and lack the complexity of fresh herbs, peppercorns and other seasonings. I will say, however, that there is nothing wrong with a Vlasic vinaigrette.
Regardless of which you use, taste and/or season your vinaigrette dutifully as you make it: Different brands will have significantly different amounts of salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to throw in a spoonful of honey, sugar or other sweetener to soften a particularly strong bite.
MORE USES FOR PICKLE BRINE
Here are five more ways to use pickle brine from our favorite artisan pickle-maker, Rick’s Picks. MORE CONDIMENT TIPS FROM CHEF JOHNNY
Chef Johnny Gnall shows how easy it is to combine two ordinary condiments into a “gourmet” condiment.