Dishes and Wishes

Recipes and Culinary Commentary

Quick Cucumber Salad

Sorry for the hiatus. I was waiting on a getting a camera but it started to be an excuse, because I’m eager (no pun intended, for those of you who know both me and Russian pronunciation) to share my borsch recipe with you. Instead, we will opt for one of the simplest salads to make with just four ingredients. It doesn’t take that much imagination to figure out what it looks like. My take on the German-style cucumber salad is:

  • cucumber, preferably garden-fresh or organic
  • lite sour cream (or full fat if you’ve decided you don’t have quite enough fat in your diet)
  • fresh or dried dill
  • rice wine vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned: whatever)
Peel cukes if they’re store-bought and coated in that nasty wax. Otherwise, slice it into about 3-4 mm pieces and cut in half. I stack them roughly when I slice them in half so they’re not all cookie-cutter shaped. If you slice the cukes thinner, they sort of dissolve into the dressing as the water leeches out of them, so thicker is better. (Phrasing!) I’ve utmost respect for vegetable integrity. (I also think it’s ugly to take the seeds out and then slice them into crude almost-crescent moons, so I always leave them whole, unless I’m doing a Chinese cucumber salad with garlic and sesame oil.) In a bowl, add about a teaspoon of rice wine vinegar. Nota bene: if you were going to use this recipe to make just sweet ‘n’ sour marinated cukes, then add some sugar to the vinegar, whip it in, then season w/ salt and pepper and add your cukes and put in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours. Or if you were even more motivated, you might want to salt the cukes after you slice them and fridge ’em for a good hour before you add them to the marinade so that the cuke-water doesn’t dilute the marinate. Sorry to digress, folks, because this is not that recipe. That recipe doesn’t have sour cream either. In this one, it’s essential.
Okay, so you’ve got some rice vinegar in a bowl, I wouldn’t add sugar because the vinegar’s sweet, and add in about half a tablespoon of sour cream and mix to a uniform consistency.  (If you haven’t pre-salted the cukes, the cuke juice will make this a more viscous dressing when you add them in, just keep that in mind. ) Add in about half a teaspoon of dried dill or fresh dill to your taste. I advise finely mincing fresh dill, if using, because uncut dill has a similar mouthfeel as human hair. If you’re cutting herbs, you want them as dry as possible. I towel-dry all my herbs and legumes because I detest all salad spinners unless they’re made by Zyliss. (Sorry, America, but your manual cooking gadgets are generally laughable.) Toss in. Mix. Adjust vinegar and sour cream to your liking, you can’t really go wrong with either. Season with salt and fresh-ground pepper. (If you don’t have fresh-ground pepper, please stop reading, buy a Peugeot pepper grinder and some black peppercorns and call me in the morning with the story of how your life has changed.) Add sliced cukes. Et voilà! Cucumber salad. Not too creamy, not too sour, not too sweet, just right. Just perfect for Goldilocks.

These look store-bought, see how shiny the skin is? Supermarket wax.

This picture is stolen from the internet, I would say it’s fair use, but I’m only using it because all the pics of cuke salad looked worse than yours will, and this one depicts a similarly-sized cuke slice as the one called for in this recipe.

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