A tale of two cucumbers.
Actually, more like five cucumbers.
They were the best of cucumbers, they were the worst of cucumbers...
Oh heck. I went school-clothes shopping with the boys today. My brain is fried. Let's skip the clever part and go right to the food.
I like cucumbers very much. I like them raw and I like them pickled (not sweet, though). I like them in salads and on sandwiches. I wish they were more nutritious; they do have a bit of Vitamins A and C, a tiny bit of iron and calcium. You'd have to eat a lot of cucumbers to get much value from them. But the good news is they don't have a lot in the line of calories or fat or anything bad in them either. Unless you play with them a bit. But they're so cool and crunchy. Perfect in the summer.
Here, two recipes, one an old family favorite, one a new favorite.
The first is really easy.
Peel and slice your cucumbers. Sprinkle liberally with salt every layer. Cover with cold water and let sit for a few hours. Then pour out half of the water and add cider vinegar. Let sit overnight.
That's it. My mother used to add a pinch of sugar to keep the vinegar from being so biting. I say, don't be a wimp! If your mouth's not puckered, you're not doing it right! Youngest Son and I battle for every slice of cucumber soaked in vinegar.
The next is a recipe I picked up over at Katie's excellent blog. It's also very easy, just requires a lot of time. This version starts, not with a cucumber, but with a shallot, poked with whole cloves. I like to poke things. Playing with my food is always a good sign.
Then it's time to peel and slice cucumbers, layering them with coarse salt. I used sea salt. From a really pretty bottle. So I got to play with my food AND use pretty bottles.
This needs to be done in a very big nonreactive bowl, because when the cucumbers are all sliced, you will put a plate on top of them, and the plate needs to touch the cucumbers. Then you'll weight the plate down.
This is to force the cukes to drain their liquid. You leave it like this for 4-10 hours. I left it sit about 8 hours. That drained a lot of water:
The water is poured off, and the cuke slices gently squeezed to drain even more water out. The clove-poked shallot is history. Hasta la vista, shallot.
Now the fun begins. Put the cukes back in a bowl (a smaller one is fine at this point), and add lemon juice, good olive oil, Greek or plain yogurt (I used Greek), fresh-ground pepper, and fresh snipped chives.
Mmmmmmmm....cool, creamy, crunchy, rich, and yet somehow light. This is highly addictive. Apparently it keeps in the fridge up to a week. I wouldn't know. It didn't last nearly that long at my house.
Stay cool, everyone!