Sour Dill Pickles
Supermarket dill-pickled cucumbers are always a bit on the sweet side for me, so this is my attempt at capturing that lovely sour New York deli-type pickle.
This recipe is from Delia's Complete How to Cook. Makes two 17½ fl oz (500 ml) preserving jars.
You need to begin this the night before.
First of all, cut the cucumbers in half lengthways and then in quarters lengthways, then cut them on the diagonal into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks. After that, peel and slice the shallots in half through the root, then into three. Next, you need to place the cucumbers and shallots in layers in a non-metallic colander and sprinkle with the salt between each layer, making sure they are fairly evenly coated. Then place a plate over them, press it down with a scale weight, or something equally heavy, and leave them overnight so the salt can draw out the excess moisture. Put a dish underneath the colander to catch the drips.
Next day, rinse the vegetables under cold, running water and dry them in a clean tea cloth, then spread them out on the cloth for about an hour to thoroughly dry off. After that, pack them into the hot, sterilised jars, which have been washed thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinsed, dried, then placed in a moderate oven for five minutes to sterilise.
Now place the vinegar and spices in a saucepan, along with the dill, bring it up to the boil and simmer for about 30 seconds, then pour the whole lot over the vegetables, covering them completely. Swivel the jars to make sure the air is expelled and really press the vegetables down under the liquid before you place waxed discs on top. Then seal tightly with vinegar-proof lids, label when cold and store the pickles in a cool, dry, dark place to mellow for 3 months before eating.