Note:  I tried this recipe again and the pickles were a bit mushy.  My sister-in-law and BFF, Lisa, also had a problem with mushy and moldy pickles.  I need to do a bit more experimentation with this recipe.  I have done some research and it seems that if you use really firm and dark green cucumbers they don’t get mushy.  I also read that putting grape leaves in the jar with the cucumbers helps keep them firm.  I will be doing further work on this recipe and keep you updated.  Please let me know if you try this recipe and how it works for you.

During the Golden Age of the Jewish Deli there was a deli that stood out as one of the best.  It was called the Rascal House.  It was in Miami and I would have the pleasure of going there once or twice a year while visiting my grandparents.  When you finally were seated at the Rascal House (there was always a super long wait) there would be a basket of mixed fresh rolls (pumpernickel, rye, etc.) on the table next to a silver saucer of dill pickles.  The way I feel about these pickles borders on embarrassing.  I have spent years looking for a pickle recipe similar to the Rascal’s kosher dills: and, in the process, I have suffered some horrible pickle failures.  When I saw a dill pickles recipe in Chef Michael Symon’s book Live to Cook,  I thought I would try one more time.  I was skeptical.  There was no way I could reach the standards of the Rascal House.  Not only was the recipe really easy; but, the pickles were really good.  Maybe not as good as the Rascal House; but, so close that I think I am done searching and ready to chow down.

First, you make a brine of salt, fresh dill, and garlic.  You boil the brine until the salt is dissolved.  While you let the brine cool, you peel and cut your pickles.  I cut mine in half length-wise and in half by width.  If you find those cute little pickling pickles; then, you can just brine them whole.

Put the cucumbers in a large bowl.  Pour the brine over the cucumbers.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place a plate over the cucumbers to make sure they are immersed in the brine.  Let the cucumbers ferment in a cool place for a week.

A week later you have really good dill pickles.

If you don’t plan on eating them all at once you can boil the fermenting liquid, let it cool, and put the pickles and the liquid into a jar and keep them in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Dill Pickles

from Michael Symon’s Live to Cook


3 tablespoons of kosher salt

1 bunch of fresh dill

10-15 garlic cloves, peeled

1 pound pickling cucumbers (or regular large cucumbers cut in half length-wise and by width)

1.  Combine 3 1/2 cups of water with the dill, salt, and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the salt is dissolved.  Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

2.  Arrange the cucumbers in a nonreactive container.  Pour the brine over the cucumbers.  Cover the cucumbers with plastic wrap and weight the cucumbers down with a small plate or bowl so that they’re completely submerged.  Set in a cool place and allow to ferment at room temperature for 1 week.  Taste the cucumbers.  If you want them more sour, leave them out for 2 more days.

3.  To store them, strain the fermenting liquid into a nonreactive pan and bring to a boil, then remove it from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  Pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 month.