Quick Saltwater and Lemon Pickles

From our first bite in a taverna in Kalkan harbor overlooking a sweep of turquoise-blue water, we were hooked on saltwater and lemon pickles.  Ridiculously simple to make, our take on a classic relish tray – carrot, celery, cucumber sticks - pleases every guest who tries them.  For a softer pickle, prepare the vegetables and the marinade up to 24 hours ahead and let the vegetables marinate in the refrigerator.  Or, for a crunchier pickle, make them just before you serve them, as we have done many times. For parties, we like to serve the pickles in small mason jars filled halfway with the brine.

Serves 6 – 12 as an appetizer

2 cups cool water

1 tablespoon kosher salt

½ cup lemon juice

1 cup cucumber, seeds removed and cut into thin 6-inch sticks

1 cup carrots cut into thin 6-inch sticks

1 cup celery, cut into thin 6-inch sticks

Optional additions:

½ cup sliced fennel

½ cup radishes sliced in half

1 tablespoon whole flat leaf parsley leaves.

3 allspice berries

3 peppercorns

To make the brine, pour the water into a medium, shallow glass, ceramic, or enamel-coated pan. Add the salt and mix into the brine until it dissolves.  Stir in the lemon juice.

Layer the cucumbers, carrot and celery and sticks so that they are covered with the brine.  Let the vegetables marinate for ½ to 1 hour before serving.  Or, you can make the pickles ahead and keep them in the refrigerator for up to five days. The pickles get better as they absorb more brine.

Fennel tastes delicious, however they will give a licorice flavor to the brine.  You can brine the fennel separately, if you wish to add it to the mix.

Radishes make a nice addition.  However, should you choose to add them, they will turn the brine pink.

The parsley leaves turn mellow when added to the brine and can be eaten whole.

Should you choose to marinate the pickles for longer than an hour, you can add the lightly crushed allspice berries and peppercorns.

The pickles are traditionally eaten as part of a meze platter with Turkish raki, but are delicious with wine and spirits or on their own.