Chef and author Magnus Nilsson of rural Sweden’s acclaimed restaurant, Fävaken Magasinet, writes about several methods for making pickles, including wet and dry brines. His quick method uses salt, followed by a white vinegar, sugar, and water brine, which is as good for herring as it is for cucumbers and other raw or cooked vegetables.
Like a lot of Swedish pickling recipes, Chef Nilsson calls for one part white vinegar to two parts sugar and three parts water. That mix doesn’t translate well for Americans, as Swedish white vinegars are much stronger than American. For serious pickling using Nilsson’s advice, I would get out the pH paper. But this adaption worked well for quick and crisp cucumbers that I planned to keep in the refrigerator and eat up in a few weeks.
(This recipe was adapted from Fävaken by Magnus Nilsson, Phaidon, October 2012)
a cucumber's worth
kosher or flaky sea salt
In This Recipe
Thinly slice the cucumber, carefully mix in the salt, and let it drain in a colander or sieve for about an hour. The cucumber slices will start to look as if they have been cooked.
While the cucumbers are draining, mix together the vinegar, sugar, and water to make a pickling solution.
Rinse any remaining salt from the cucumbers, place them in a ceramic or glass bowl or jar, and completely immerse them with the pickling solution.
They’ll start to taste like pickles within an hour. Store them in the refrigerator.
I’m a marine biologist who can get a little overly obsessive about cooking projects. If it involves obscure research, strange and unusual ingredients, and more work than you can imagine—I’m ready to party.