Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cool as a Cucumber Salad

On a hot day, a cool, refreshing cucumber salad makes a great side dish. This one couldn't get any simpler. You can certainly add seasonal herbs and spices, but I think that incredibly fresh pickling cucumbers don't a lot of extra flavors.

And really, this is a cooling side dish. Put your herbs and spices in the main dish.

I like either wine vinegar or rice vinegar for these cucumbers, but you could use something else. This time I used a red wine vinegar, and immediately gave the onions a nice pink tinge.

While this is an incredibly simple dish, it had several faces. When freshly made, the vegetables are crisp and bright. Let it marinate over night, and the vegetables become more like a pickle.

But then you've got another choice... you'll see.

Cool as a Cucumber Salad

1 small sweet onion
4-5 pickling cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon salt
additional salt for seasoning (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
1/4 cup wine vinegar (or to taste)

Peel and halve the onions and slice. I like them a little thick, but slice them the way you like them. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt, and stir to combine.

Peel the cucumbers, cut off the ends, and slice.

At this point, the onions should have exuded some moisture. Rinse them, drain them, and add the sliced cucumbers to the bowl. Add the sugar and vinegar, stir to combine. Let it sit for a few minutes, then taste it to check for the tartness; add more sugar if it needs it. While some salt remains even after you rinse the onions, you can add more if you want it.

Now, here's the twist. After the salad sits overnight, I often turn it into a different salad. I drain all the liquid and add either sour cream or yogurt (preferably Greek-style for the thickness, but regular plain yogurt is fine.) Mix that in, and it becomes a different sort of salad. And while I often leave the first salad un-herbed, I like the creamy version with some fresh dill.

1 comment:

macgail_booth said...

I've been making a variation of his for years, with white vinegar and dill. Love it, especially when I slice the cucumbers super thin :) btw, just saw your serious eats bread post. looks great! will be trying that soon!

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