There's a fine art to making a good sandwich. I speak with some authority having spent countless hours as a student behind the counters of delis buttering baguettes, carving up camembert and doing everything I could to avoid the meat slicer... which meant making sandwiches. You start with good bread, that's a given. Next you need something spreadable - whether butter, mayonnaise, mustard or chutney - to stop it drying out, a protein - like egg, or cheese or meat - for substance, a bit of greenery for virtue (and colour) and then lastly, ideally, you need crunch. Texture is that certain je ne sais quoi that elevates the ordinary sandwich into the realm of the extraordinary. It's the little extra touch that just shows you care, and caring about what you prepare yourself to eat always - always! - makes it taste better. Especially when you make the crunch in question yourself.
These bread and butter pickles are brilliant on a corned beef sandwich, a salad roll, or - better still - a burger. Jarred up, they make excellent presents, and keeping aside at least one for yourself will ensure that any sandwich you make is nothing short of spectacular. And don't we all deserve spectacular? Especially for lunch.
Bread and butter pickles
Adapted from a recipe by Karen Martini, as published in Sunday Life
This makes 2 litres which is a LOT, even with multiple friends to farm out jars to. I often make a smaller batch just by halving the amount of ingredients which results in a generous (but not overwhelming) amount of pickles.
1 brown onion, cut in half and finely sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 green chilli, sliced
3 tablespoons flaked salt (I use Maldon)
6 zucchinis, cut into thin rounds
8 Lebanese, or gherkin-style cucumbers
300ml cider vinegar
250g raw sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly ground
2 teaspoons turmeric
Place onion, garlic and chilli in a colander with 1 tablespoon of the salt and scrunch with your hands to combine. Allow mixture to sit for 1 hour.
Place zucchini and cucumbers into another colander with remaining salt, toss and leave for 1 hour to drain.
Place vinegar, sugar and spices in a large saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add onion mix and bring to a simmer for 30 seconds. Add zucchini and cucumber mix and return to simmer, then remove from heat immediately.
Spoon into sterilised jars, seal and chill.
Pickles should last about two months.