Thursday, August 14, 2014

Creamy Summer Salad

There are a couple of things I look forward to every summer. One is a tomato-and-mayonnaise sandwich.

The other is picking cucumbers. I use them a number of different ways - including pickles. But one of the things I love best is a cucumber salad with peeled and sliced cucumbers that are first marinated with a little vinegar, and then drained and mixed with sour cream.

Or Greek-style yogurt, when I'm being more virtuous.

I got home from the farmer's market planning on making a cucumber salad, but then I noticed that a couple of my tomatoes had gotten a little squished, and one had a sizable crack. I needed to use them quickly, or I'd be throwing them away.

So I decided to do a combo salad. And for the fun of it, I added a zucchini that I bought - one of the little ones, not a giant one. And then I went out to the yard and snipped some herbs - parsley, chives, and bush basil.

This was really good. It's not the prettiest salad for a photo - the creaminess makes the vegetables look sort of indistinct. But the flavor is really, really good.

You can cut your vegetable into whatever size pieced you like, but I suggest slicing so you can put a few pieces on a fork to eat together, rather than super-large chunks.

Creamy Summer Salad

4 pickling cucumbers, peeled and sliced into rounds
3 tomatoes, cored and cut into large cubes
1 zucchini, cut in quarters, lengthwise, then sliced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh tender herbs (your choice*), minced
2 tablespoons sour cream (or Greek-style yogurt, if you prefer)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and herbs in a bowl. Add the vinegar and salt and stir to combine. Let this sit at room temperature for an hour, stirring once in a while to make sure all the vegetables have their time in the liquid. As this sits, the vegetables will lose quite a bit of liquid. That's to be expected.

Drain the liquid. This is quite tasty, with flavors of the vinegar and tart tomatoes along with the essence of the herbs. You can save it to use in soup, or as the base of a salad dressing, if you like. Or a marinade for chicken. Or toss it. Your choice.

Add the sour cream and mayonnaise, and grind on black pepper, as desired.

Stir and serve.

Refrigerate any leftovers. The vegetable will continue to lose liquid and will soften a bit, but this is still great the next day.

*I used parsley, chives, and a small amount of bush basil. Dill or thyme would be good, too - use what you like or what you have on hand.