Pickles are controversial. Some people hate them. They take pains to remove slices from their burgers, leave them limp on their plates.
I, on the other hand, have never encountered a pickle plate I have never ordered. I like classic pickles of the Lower East Side and the nouveau beet, ramp, Asian pear, and okra pickles of the Greenmarket Guard. I like pickles in my cocktails and have been known to use relish (finely diced sweet pickles) as a secret ingredient.
I even like to drink pickle brine, but in typical circles, this is unusual behavior. Somehow we can all drink iced tea from Ball pickling jars, but for some reason it’s socially unacceptable to drink pickle juice from these same receptacles.
That’s why I made this Pickled Radish Gelatin, which lets me eat my pickles and drink them, too. This is for all you hardcore picklephiles out there. First, you make pickles as you normally would. Let them pickle up a bit, then strain the pickles out and add gelatin to the brine.
This is a distant relative of the Shanghai soup dumpling, in which you can eat and drink your soup with the help of the broth's enhanced collagen content. Some people might prefer those more savory pleasures, but give me this radish dish, and I'll be pickled pink.
Slice 1-2 black radishes with a mandolin and place in large jar. Make brine out of 1 cup of very hot water, ½ cup rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of salt, and 3-6 tablespoons sugar (to taste). Add brine to jar and chill for 4 days.
Strain radishes away from brine and add brine to saucepan with 1 envelope of powdered gelatin. Bring to a simmer, then turn off and let cool for 15 minutes. Place radishes in a container that would make a cool or at least serviceable inverted shape. Let chill overnight, invert, and serve.