Chosen Bites: In a bit of a pickle

Green almonds, a delightful treat only available for a short time each year, are great as a snack or added to your favorite dish.

Chosen Bites: In a bit of a pickle  (photo credit: Wikicommons)
Chosen Bites: In a bit of a pickle
(photo credit: Wikicommons)
Green almonds only appear in the market for a short time each year. With their distinct taste, that can be described as grassy or green, jelly-like interior and fuzzy exterior, these delicacies are a seasonal treasure.
Often just eaten out of hand, green almonds can be used in a variety of dishes. I like green almonds for their delicate, sour quality. Persian recipes often use the tart flavor to balance out sweet or salty dishes.
My favorite way to use green almonds is to pickle them. Quick and easy to prepare, pickled green almonds are terrific lightly chopped and sprinkled over salads, gazpacho and roasted vegetables. Pickled green almonds also make a delicious pesto with garlic and spicy greens such as arugula. However you eat them, enjoy the season because it won’t last long.
- 1 kilo green almonds, rinsed and patted dry - 5 shallots, sliced into thin rounds - 5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced into rounds (try to find spring garlic, it is has juicy - cloves with a soft garlic flavor) - 1 Tablespoon whole coriander seeds, lightly toasted - 1 Tablespoon black peppercorn, coarsely ground - 1/2 cup golden raisins - 1 cup apple cider vinegar - 2 tablespoons mustard seeds - 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil - 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1. With a skewer, pierce the green almond from the stem end all the way through to the tip (this will allow the pickling liquid to penetrate the almond)
2. Heat a medium saucepan, lightly coated with just a bit of the olive oil, over medium-low heat; add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring constantly, over medium low heat until the shallots are translucent. Don’t allow the garlic or shallots to brown, you just want to soften the aromatics and bring out their flavor.
3. Add the peppercorns, coriander seeds, raisins, vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Stir to blend and bring to a simmer.
4. Add the almonds to the pickling liquid. Allow the pickled almonds to sit, covered, and refrigerated in the liquid for 24 hours before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for months.
5. Serve the almonds: as a garnish for roasted vegetables or made into a pesto with garlic and parsley or arugula and tossed with hot pasta or lightly chopped as part of a salad or gazpacho or in a bowl as part of a mezze menu with your favorite aperitif.
Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.