Cucumbers. Oh, how I love cucumbers. I love them pickled. I love them sliced with the barest hint of salt and some coarse-ground black pepper. I’ve not yet had a cucumber sandwich (‘though I’ve had sliced cucumber as part of the dressing on sandwiches), but that gives me something to look forward to and try.
As Wikipedia tells us, cucumbers are a part of the gourd family (who knew?):
The cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon. The plant is a creeping vine which bears cylindrical edible fruit…The cucumber is originally from India, but is now grown in most of the continents.
Thank you, India! 🙂
One of my favorite dishes — especially in the warmer weather — is Marinated Cucumber Salad. I fell in love with this dish when I was growing up and my Aunt Heidi would make it. I mean, what’s not to love?
- It’s easy to make.
- It’s crisp and light and pretty much guilt-free to eat.
- It’s tangy and yummy.
- It will keep for several days in the ‘fridge.
- It’s fairly easy to make as much or as little as you want.
- It complements a wide variety of dishes.
I couldn’t be trusted to be left alone with it, as I was likely to eat every single bit of it that is set out.
You can make this dish very, very simple or a bit more complex. At it’s purest form, Marinated Cucumber Salad is made with thinly sliced cucumber (I like to remove just a few strips of the peel) that you place in a non-reactive (as in, non-metallic and non-porous) container. Season with a bit of salt and coarse-ground black pepper and a generous amount of dill weed. Cover with equal amounts vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white distilled or whatever gets you all happy) and water (I usually use a bit more vinegar than water), and let it all marinate and hang-out in the ‘fridge for three hours or more before you dig in and enjoy.
When I can, though, I like to add to the depth of flavor by including some sliced onion (red onion, most especially), and perhaps some sliced tomato (this is a favorite of mine to do when I’m blessed with an overabundance of fresh, fully-flavored tomato).
And every so often, when I have a hankering, I might add in some basil, oregano, and/or Italian seasoning and a splash of canola oil.
However you make it, it tastes yummy and embodies the phrase “Cool as a cucumber.” Why, it’s as cool as Bogie and Bacall in “To Have and Have Not” — you’ll be whistling for this salad, I guarantee!