While grandmas from the past would have used pickling to extend the life of seasonal vegetables, its current revival can be partly credited to on-trend Americana-style sliders, alongside New York-style sandwiches, plus Asian salads.
All cuisines which use quick pickling techniques do so to add tang, crunch and contrast to savoury, hot or spicy dishes. In Auckland, the rise of Maori cuisine has been helped along by Chefs such as Monique Fiso who is making indigenous cuisine a fine-dining treat. Greater access to – and acceptance of – native ingredients, has seen the development of dishes such as her Ngai Tahu Bluff oysters with karamu berry mignonette foam and pickled karamu berries. Where she goes, others follow.
While pickling can be a relatively simple process, any Chef worth his or her salt – and a nitro canister – can concoct a decent foam too, and follow the lead of talented Chefs such as Martin Benn, who is soon to shut his Sydney restaurant Sepia, and move south to Melbourne. Benn was a master of foams and emulsions, along with Heston Blumenthal, when molecular gastronomy was at its height, whereas now it can be found at sea level on a variety of menus. Boat hire company Sydney Harbour Exclusive features a slow-roasted Angus grain-fed eye fillet, with red onion horseradish soubise and mustard foam emulsion on its cruising menu.
Glazes and marinades, meanwhile, owe some of their continued longevity to the recent dude food and Americana craze. Sticky success often pairs with economy as cheaper cuts such as brisket, chicken wings and local pork ribs can take the flavour to another level and also extend the budget. From hot-right-now hot wings as offered by Morgan McGlone’s Belles Hot Chicken, which recently dipped a pop-up toe into his New Zealand homeland, to more traditional honey, soy and ginger glazed pork ribs with that essential Asian elements of hot, sour, salty, and sweet, it’s time you gave glazes and marinades a go. Try a dry rub, two-hour smoke, then a drizzle of glaze before serving to take a simple dish to the next level.