After two hot weeks and two rainstorms, the cukes have popped. We raided the vines last weekend, uncovering a few giant specimens lurking under the prickly leaves. Still, I was sure they could be salvaged. Overgrown cucurbits require just a little more care unless they are hopelessly dry, woody and bitter.
I peeled these big cucumbers, which I normally don’t need to do. I even scooped out the seedy, but still juicy, centers, which I halved and sliced. (Using a food processor will make even thinner slices.) I could have salted and drained the slices and mixed them into sour cream, but instead, I splashed on a dressing that I could make the fastest and let the cucumber salad sit while I dashed through the quick prep for the rest of our sunset dinner. These garden-bounty dinners are my favorites of the year.
Recipe: Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad
Servings: About 4
- 1 to 3 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced thinly
- 2 to 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or other mild, white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- splash of fish sauce
- splash of soy sauce
- splash of sesame oil
- several grinds of black pepper
- toasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon minced hot pepper or a dash of red pepper flakes
- 4 to 6 Italian or Thai basil leaves, torn
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons dill, minced (omit sesame oil, fish sauce and soy sauce)
Mix all ingredients. Let marinate and chill for about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.