Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cucumber Salad

This is a salad that my mom made every summer when I was a kid. It was a staple on the dinner table, but only in summer because that's when pickling cucumbers were available.

Mom didn’t like the big waxy cucumber that she could buy at the grocery store all year long, so we had to wait until there were cucumbers growing in my dad's garden.

I agree that the big green waxy cucumbers aren't quite right for this salad, but now there are English cucumbers that are available all year long . Those work well when pickling cucumbers are out of season.

I've seen a lot of variations of this salad, but my mother used one little trick that I haven't seen in other recipes.

Cucumber Salad

1 quart peeled and sliced pickling cucumbers (4-5 medium cucumbers)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Several grinds black pepper
1 teaspoon dill weed, dried, or 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed fronds, chopped

In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, salt, and vinegar. Stir to combine and let sit for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the cucumbers all get equal time in contact with the vinegar. You can also refrigerate this for a longer time - overnight, if you like. The longer it sits in the vinegar, the more tart it will be.

After the cucumbers have rested, drain the liquid out. It doesn't have to be bone dry, but drain it well. Add the sour cream, black pepper, and dill. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper, as desired.

This salad can be made well in advance and refrigerated until needed. I tend to make this is larger batches so it will last for several days.

If you're feeling fancy, you can garnish this with a few springs of dill weed before serving.