My husband and I really enjoy the brief time each summer when Acme Food & Beverage in Carrboro offers their tomato sampler with pesto appetizer, but this summer I particularly noticed how lovely the squash pickles served on the side were. I thought there was a trace of curry in them. Think theyd share that recipe?
Owner/chef Kevin Callaghan is happy to share the recipe for the pickles he remembers first enjoying as a child at his grandmothers house in South Carolina.
She always got more squash in her garden than she knew what to do with, Callaghan said, so she made pickles. We ate them with black-eyed peas or crowder peas, which he recalls being enlisted not always willingly to help shell.
Callaghans culinary path eventually led to Chapel Hill, where he worked at Crooks Corner under the late Bill Neal before opening Acme in 1998. The chefs deep roots in Southern farm soil are evident in Acmes seasonal menu, which had a strong locavore focus before the term became trendy. Longtime fans look forward to the chefs weekly email newsletters, which are as entertaining as they are informative as he reports on his latest harvest haul.
Fortunately, that haul has recently included late crops of the yellow summer squash that Callaghan favors for this recipe.
Ive gotten some nice Zephyrs, but you can use crookneck, straightneck even zucchini, though the color isnt quite as nice. Just be sure to pick firm squash, the smaller the better.
Its a safe bet that Callaghans newsletter (you can subscribe at the restaurants website) wont be reporting on any more local heirloom tomatoes this year. But with a few jars of these pickles in your fridge, you can still get a taste of summer sunshine for several weeks to come.
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