Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cucumber quick-pickle or cucumber salad

Call it whatever you like, but this is an easy, satisfying summer preparation.

6 Kirby cucumbers (each about 5" long), or three conventional green cucumbers
1/4 c vinegar (red wine, rice, white, cider -- anything but balsamic)
1 1/2 Tbp sugar
1 Tbp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
2 scallions (or half a small yellow or red onion), sliced
several cloves of garlic, smashed (optional)

Wash the cukes.  If you're using Kirbys (pickling cukes, unwaxed), then you can either leave the cukes unpeeled, or 'stripe' them.  If you're using conventional green, waxed salad cukes, peel them completely.

I found "salt and pepper" cukes at the farm stand over the weekend.  Never seen them before -- they're yellow-skinned, and the skin is a bit tough.  But they have a beautiful greenish seed core.  Quite attractive.  I 'striped' these cukes, then sliced them in 1/8-inch slices on the mandoline.

Salt the sliced cukes, and mix them well, distributing the salt over all.  Add sugar, vinegar, black and red pepper, and mix well.  Add the scallions or onions.  You can add garlic if you wish -- but leave it in large chunks so that you don't inadvertently eat the cloves.  Though tasty, you'll likely not have many friends afterwards. 

You can eat these pickles immediately, but frankly, they improve immensely upon sitting.  I typically let the mixture sit at room temperature for a couple hours, covered, then pop them into a container in the fridge. 

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