This quick pickle recipe, adapted from my book “Everyday Korean,” is delicious with or without the addition of chiles; if you opt for a kick, look to jalapeño, Fresno and serrano. When in season, reach for spring carrots and snow turnips, snap peas and asparagus. While these pickles pair well with just about any savory dish, try them with fried chicken, a falafel and hummus platter, and almost any dish that’s rich and creamy as the vinegar and crunch of the pickle will cleanse your palate and leave you wanting for more. — Kim Sunée
Makes 1 quart
1 daikon radish or 2 English cucumbers (about 1 pound)
2 jalapeños, Fresno chiles, or serrano, stems removed (optional)
2 cups water
1 cup vinegar (rice, white, or cider)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt or low-sodium soy sauce
• Slice daikon radish or cucumbers and jalapeños into (1-inch) rounds or cubes; place in a clean glass jar.
• Add water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a medium pot set over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil and stir 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve sugar. Let cool slightly; pour warm liquid over vegetables in jar. Cover and let sit in refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to 3 weeks.
Variation: Slice the daikon radish paper thin (or use a mandolin slicer) and layer with perilla (wild sesame) leaves, stack the layer in a container, then pour the pickling liquid over. Put a small plate over to let everything submerge under the pickling liquid. Refrigerate at least 1 day before serving. Store in the refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Use the leaves as a wrap for grilled or roasted fish and meat.