Flavored with dry mustard and turmeric, and featuring a thickened brine, these slightly sweet and very sharp mustard pickles are the condiment you didn’t know you were looking for!
Until a copy of Matty Matheson: A Cookbook landed in my mailbox, mustard pickles were not really on my radar. I’d heard people reference them before, but they’d never registered any interest or curiosity on my part. Then, as I flipped through this book (a really gorgeous, personal, interesting volume), Matty’s recipe for mustard pickles caught my eye.
They seem like a fairly standard mixed pickle at first. Onions, cauliflower, cucumber, sugar, and vinegar. But then, I read down further, I spotted cornstarch. A thickener? In a pickle? I did a little reading and discovered that this is a really traditional pickle in parts of Canada and it’s often used in places where one might use ketchup.
I decided I had to try a batch. Now, because of that cornstarch, I knew I’d have to make them as a fridge pickle rather than a preserved one (unmodified cornstarch isn’t heat stable and because it increases the density, it throws everything we know about processing times for pickles into question).
I have reprinted the recipe below exactly as it is written in the book, but I advise that if you make this recipe, you follow my lead and consider this a fridge pickle. Matty’s instructions tell you to use an open kettle method (fill jars, cap, and let the residual heat create the seal), which isn’t thought to be safe by current safety guidelines.
I chopped cucumbers, cauliflower, and shallots (fresh pearl onions were not to be found), and combined them with the sugar and vinegar. I added the mustard powder, turmeric, and salt and brought it to a simmer for 15 minutes to soften. While it cooked, I combined 1/2 cup cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water.
When the veg was sufficiently softened, I turned off the heat and whisked in the cornstarch slurry. I believe this is a spot where my electric stove led me a little astray. Because it takes a while to cool down, the veg was still quite hot and so the cornstarch thickened a heck of a lot. My mustard pickles ended up being a little pudding-y. I don’t believe that’s the desired texture.
Still, the flavor is good and I have every confidence that we’ll manage to eat through these pickles, gloppy though they might be.
Disclosure: I was given a review copy of this book as part of my participation in the Abrams Dinner Party. No additional payment was received and all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.