by Dave Arnold
If you have a chamber vacuum sealer, you can use the vacuum to do a kind of rapid pickling, forcing a liquid (such as gin) into a solid (such as cucumber). If you don’t have a chamber vacuum sealer, that’s been a hard trick to pull off.
I use an ISI whipper for rapid infusion into liquids, because under pressure, liquid is forced into the pores of foods and then that same liquid violently boils out when pressure is released, bringing the flavor with it. The liquid takes on the flavor of the solid, which is good. When you are trying to put flavor from the liquid into the solid, instead of the flavor of the solid into the liquid, the boiling is a problem because the liquid doesn’t stay inside the solid. The solution is pressure pickling.
ISI 1 liter cream whipper
2 chargers (either CO2 or N2O)
3 “Sandwich Size” sized Ziploc bags
2 cucumbers (577 grams), seeds removed, cut into 28 planks no thicker than 5/16 inch (8mm). Yield: 210 grams (eat or juice the rest)
200 ml gin
50 ml Dolin Blanc sweet white vermouth
10 ml 1:1 simple syrup
1 ml 20% saline solution
Combine gin, vermouth, simple syrup and saline solution. Divide the liquid and cucumber planks between the Ziploc bags.
Remove the air from the Ziploc bags by immersing them in water. To do this, get a container of water larger than the bags. Seal each bag starting from one side and allow only the corner to remain unsealed. Put your finger in the open spot and hold the bag up from that point so the bag looks diamond shaped. Immerse the bag in water till the water level almost reaches the open spot by your finger while freeing any air pockets in the submerged bag with your free hand. Seal the bag. There should be almost no air in the bags.
Roll the bags up and put it in the ISI whipper. Add water to the fill line (this makes the venting procedure more gentle on your product.
Seal the whipper and charge with 1 cartridge. Agitate mildly for a couple of seconds and allow the product to rest for 2 minutes.
Slowly vent the whipper. Go slow. If you vent too quickly you’ll spoil the infusion. Allow the bags to rest in the whipper for 5 minutes. During this time air will be leaving the cucumber.
Apply a second charger, agitate mildly and allow to rest 2 minutes. Vent slowly and remove the bag from the whipper.
Drain the cucumbers (drink the booze). Zest some lime peel on top and sprinkle with Maldon salt. Use cucumber within 2 hours or it will lose some of its crunch.