Monday, August 10, 2009

Chef Recipe: Cal Elliott's Pickled Watermelon Rind

As if the Prohibition-era cocktails weren't enough to lure pickle girl to Rye, Cal Elliott's grown-up menu offers an immensely satisfying slice of Americana in a moody, 19th-century setting.

This talented chef--of Dumont and Dressler fame--garnishes his succulent braised short rib sandwich (with onion jam and creamy, fresh horseradish) with watermelon rind pickles.

Chef Elliott's candy corn-shaped rinds retain just enough pink flesh to recall a half-licked Jolly Rancher. If only I could order these candied bits by the pound.

Special thanks to Cal Elliott for sharing his version of watermelon rind pickles with pickle girl.

Day One:
2 gallons rind cut into 1" cubes
1 cup salt
1 tsp. alum

1. Mix the salt and alum in 1 quart of cold water to dissolve the salt
2. Pour mixture over rinds, weigh the rinds down with a plate and cover with with cold water. Let stand for 8 hours
3. Drain and soak and rinse in cold water

Day Two:
6 c white distilled vinegar
4 cinnamon sticks
30 cloves
6 c sugar

1. Bring vinegar to a boil with the spices
2. Add rind and 2 cups of sugar
3. Bring back to a boil
4. Remove from heat to cool
5. When cooled, add 2 more cups of sugar and bring back to a boil
6. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining 2 cups of sugar

Process in sterilized jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, or refrigerate for up to one month.