Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cucumber Salad, Perfected

"Ma, what's the cucumber salad recipe again?" I bellowed up the stairs. 

"Cup of water, half a cup of sugar, quarter cup of vinegar. Could be a bit less sugar and a bit more vinegar," she hollered back. 

That poor intercom system that Ta insisted on never gets any love. 

I boiled up the concoction and poured it over the sliced cucumbers. 

The next day Ma was telling me of a cucumber salad recipe featured by a Hungarian guest on Loving Spoonfuls. "That's a lot more vinegar than we use," I noted, "and a lot less sugar." Although she didn't boil the liquids together, the philistine. 

Questioning my beautifully jarred results, I searched online for "cucumber salad water vinegar sugar." From the numerous options, there seems to be little in terms of official rules. Between the three ingredients, quantities vary greatly.

Costco sells New England cucumbers, which have also served as light sabers in a few mock battles. I use those for the salad, one and a half to two, which ideally fit into my 34 oz. ball jar. I'm not sure how that would translate to kerbie dimensions . . . maybe four? Four sounds good. Four-ish. Five?

Cucumber Salad

1½ New England cucumbers, or 4 to 5-ish kerbies, unpeeled
1 cup of water
½ cup sugar (or less)
¼ cup vinegar** (or more) 
kosher salt  
*onion influence of choice (sliced onion, shallots, scallions) 
*minced garlic
*dill, dried or fresh

1. I prefer to leave the skin on for color and nutrition. Wash the cucumbers well and thinly—THINLY—slice. (The food processor does not do a fine enough job, sadly, although maybe a mandolin would. Zeidy did epic cucumber slicing. My knifework will always be inferior to his. Ethereal wisps. Ethereal wisps.)

2. Place the cucumbers in a colander. Toss thoroughly with kosher salt—don't be stingy. Leave alone for about 30 minutes. An hour is also fine.

3. Rinse off salt. (If you didn't have ethereal wisps before, you should now.) Drain. 

4. In jar of choice (mine is the 34 oz./1 liter Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagnioni jar), chuck in cucumbers and optional seasonings (for me, scallions or shallots with two or three cloves of minced garlic and plenty of dill). 

5. Combine the water, vinegar, and sugar in a pot, stir a couple of times to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, then pour the potion into the jar over the cucumbers

6. Et voilà. Keeps in the fridge for a goodly amount of time. Consume with meat, chicken, fish, other vegetables, or on its lonesome. 

**I have used apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and standard vinegar  


Rachel said...

Sounds good. I just wonder about pouring boiling liquid into glass jars. I've tried that once and it cracked the glass. Wouldn't it make sense to cool the liquid mixture first?

Princess Lea said...

Glass jars haven't yet cracked on me! But the other recipe I linked above doesn't boil it at all, so again, no rules.