Julian Cincotta, executive chef at Sydney restaurant Butter, shares his tips on cooking with the unexpected food trend of 2018: pickles.
What is your favourite way to prepare and serve pickles?
What I love most about pickles is how versatile they are. They range from sweet to tart, from soft to crunchy, and can be made from just about any vegetable you can think of. How you pickle depends on what you are pickling. My favourite way to prepare a pickle is by lightly pickling it with rice wine vinegar and caster sugar and serving it on the side of a fried chicken sandwich. This combo is a crowd favourite and one of our most popular dishes.
Why do you think pickles are one of the top food trends of 2018?
There has been a very big shift over the years in Australia relating to food trends. One of the biggest that I see is the move towards slow, handcrafted foods made with love and tradition. It is one of the forgotten skills of the kitchen that seems to be making a come back in a big way. Pickles are a form of preservation; taking that ingredient in the height of its season and capturing all of its goodness to consume all year round. This is why I think Uber Eats has named pickles as the top trending food for 2018!
What is a classic dish with pickles?
Pickles and charcuterie are a match made in heaven.
And what’s something that pushes the boundaries?
Pickles and champagne pushes the boundaries but when you think about it, they go really well together.
How do you present pickles?
I love when pickles are presented in all their raw glory. One of my favourite things about pickles are the natural colours you can achieve by using different spices and natural colourants as part of the pickling process. For example, in Lebanese cuisine, pickled turnip is turned vibrant purple by adding slices of beetroot to the pickle mix. I love adding turmeric into my pickled cauliflower that gives it an amazing yellow colour that will stain your fingers each time you pick it up.
Can pickles be paired with sweet dishes?
I have never really tried it, however, I will be going back to the kitchen today to see if I can make it work. Maybe pickles and ice cream?
What wine would you pair with pickles?
If I was to just be eating a pickle on its own (which I love), I like it paired with a German off-dry Kabinett Riesling. In my mind, it just works so well with the tanginess of the pickle.
What are your top tips for cooking with pickles?
I think pickles are better not being used in cooked dishes, but rather as an accompaniment to highlight the flavours or balance a dish.
Butter is available exclusively on Uber Eats.