The primary benefit of pickles is the instant gratification they can bring to something. They marry so wonderfully with a variety of burgers, sandwiches and, well, with absolutely nothing: they’re delicious as a solo snack.
And as asparagus receives a short spotlight (season) it seems only fair to preserve the goodness and let it shine for a longer time. So please devour — whenever.
Makes 2 quarts:
3 1/2 cups white balsamic or white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
10 sprigs of fresh dill
5 garlic cloves, halved
Crushed red chili flakes
2 1/2 pounds (or 2 bunches) of asparagus, ends trimmed (save for making veggie stock)
For the brine, combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Let boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Divide the dill, garlic, a few shakes of red pepper flakes, and asparagus spears between 2 sterilised, quart-sized jars. Carefully fill the jars with the brine to within 1/2 inch of the top of the rim, covering the asparagus completely. Discard any leftover brine. Place lids on the jars and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Pickles will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Recipe: Blue Kale Road | Image: James Ransom