Pickled dill cucumbers, or gherkins, are a favourite South African treat. We slap them on burgers, we crunch them straight from the jar- but did you know they’re a great way to add some extra taste and texture to salads, too? MIAMI is celebrating summer with some tasty salad ideas.
Why we love gherkins
Salt, vinegar, spices, and crunch- what’s not to love? Pickling gives the gherkin a great shelf life, leaves them ready to use, and brings a delicious sweet and sour taste to the table, packed with plenty of elusive ‘umami’, too. If you can’t stop crunching and munching, know that they’re heart-healthy, and great for fibre intake and health, too.
This, alongside that characteristic crunch, makes them perfect in salads. Especially heart summer salad meals. Let’s get inspired!
Panzanella and pickles
Panzanella is a super-thrifty, super-tasty salad of Tuscan origin. You’re going to use a stale sourdough or ciabatta-style bread for it, too, so it’s hearty and filling. Traditionally, you coat the bread in a little olive oil and salt, and bake until crunchy in the oven. Then combine red wine vinegar and a little olive oil with grated shallots as a dressing. Toss a tin of anchovies (traditionally) or tomato-flavoured pilchards (for a South African twist) together with tomato, olives, and torn basil leaves.
Now add a handful of crunchy gherkins to really lift the profile of the fish and bread, as well as kick up that South African sass! It transforms the dish into something even better.
Salade Nicoise- but more
A salade Nicoise is another hearty salad, packed with salmon, boiled egg, and potato. And where boiled egg goes, gherkins follow! Since they’re also awesome with potatoes, what’s not to love?
The traditional dressing of salad nicoise is mashed anchovy and garlic with salt, combined with Dijon mustard and the fish oil. You can skip the anchovy if you want and use a little high-quality olive oil. Lightly boiled and salted new potatoes and fresh green beans get added to hard-boiled eggs, lettuce, tomato, and grilled salmon or tuna.
All it takes is a few gherkins added to the mix to create a richer and fuller flavour profile you’ll adore. Try it!
Summer Chicken Goddess
A basic green salad, dressing, and chicken meal takes on a whole new twist with this hot take! Bay and dill are traditional chicken spices, and the salty tang of gherkins creates a nice complement to the chicken meat.
Either slice in fresh avo, or blend some lime zest and juice, basil, and jalapeno into a guacamole for a fresh take on a dressing. Hard boil and halve some eggs. Then toss a freshly grilled chicken with lemon and pepper, sundried tomato, spring onions and cucumber. Place it on a bed of quinoa or rice, and even toss on some pistachios if you feel like it.
Don’t forget to add some crunch with the pickles, too! They will add just the right piquancy to lift the egg and avo while complimenting the chicken perfectly.
Which of these three tasty summer salads will you try first? Don’t forget to keep a jar of MIAMI’s gherkins into your trolley!