Move over bacon, macarons, molten chocolate cake, and other tired food trends. It may be low-profile but there's a new fad in town to relish (heh): The pickle.
Most of us are inclined to view the humble pickle spear as an afterthought that's served alongside more important foods like cheeseburgers or hot dogs. But, in fact, the classic pickle is inspiring chefs and cooks across the country and making it's way into a variety of dishes that just might surprise you -- either that or gross you out completely.
Chocolate-covered pickles and deep-fried pickles might sound disgusting at first, but there's a reason these crowd-pleasing fair foods have gone mainstream -- it's because they're delicious. In fact, the latter was enjoyed by pickle-obsessed Snooki on a recent episode of Jersey Shore. And, for a more heart-healthy version, you can make baked pickles in your oven at home.
The classic dill pickle is perennially popular, but that hasn't stopped pickle fans from pairing their cukes with crazy ingredients to make intriguing varieties like Spicy Srirach-Habanera and Soy Wasabi. Some even ditch the cucumber altogether and opt for pickling such produce as green beans, green tomatoes, beets, and even watermelon.
Several ethnic cuisines also have a version of the pickle: Kimchi is a popular Korean dish made with pickled cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, and onions. And Chinese and Japanese restaurants often offer sour pickles as a starter.
It's not just pickles that are popular: Pickle juice is on the rise as well. Spoon the brine into salads, vegetables, ranch dressing, martinis, even cupcakes for a tart and tangy flavor.
Do you think pickles are the next food trend?