Hello friends and friendly strangers!
Today I bring you a lovely little cucumber salad. It's crunchy, refreshing, and just in time for the end of summer! Make it for labor day! It is quick and oh so simple. Make it ahead and let it chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to devour it.
This post is dedicated to my girl Rachel Foodish (not her actual last name, wink). She spotted a cucumber salad I made on Instagram and asked if I would be posting the recipe. I thought well shoot, if she's interested in the recipe maybe other people would be, too! I tend to improv in the kitchen quite a bit, especially when I'm just hungry, maybe short on time, and have vegetables coming out of my proverbial ears- as is perpetually the case during CSA season. I often throw together whatever looks good and call it a day. In the course of such kitchen-ing, I have developed all these simple little go-to combinations and techniques that I turn to constantly, without thinking about it. I need to write these things down, dial in the amounts I use (maybe even measure something once in a while), build my bag of tricks into recipes I can share! So. That's what I did here. I went back to the salad, did some measuring, tasting, tweaking... and I think what I ended up with is an original Zoe Rose Recipe!
So thank you for inspiring me to write this post, Rachel! Everyone else, you should go check out her rad blog immediately. It is the best.
Also, make this salad and let me know what you think!
Happy End Of Summer!
This formula is based on a single cucumber. The result makes the perfect amount to, say, throw in a mason jar and take to work for lunch. Or just enjoy solo or as a side in a dinner for two. To make a bigger batch simply multiply. Four cucumbers or more would make a nice side dish for a BBQ! If you use English cucumbers you'll have to adjust slightly, as they tend to be much larger than regular cucumbers. For two English cucumbers, triple the amounts below.
1 medium cucumber
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup thinly sliced allium of your choice. Shallot is great here, as is spring onion. Any onion will be just fine. If you're feeling extra funky and you're single, add in some thinly sliced garlic! Feel free to do a combo of alliums if you like.
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh dill or fresh tender herb of your choice- try basil, cilantro, mint, or a combination!
flaky salt (I use kosher)
freshly ground black pepper
Peel the cucumber and slice thickly. You want your slices to be about ¼ in thick or so- especially if you plan on letting your salad marinate before eating. Thick slices will ensure that your cucumber stays crunchy even after it lets go of some water. Throw your cucumber slices into a bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, alliums, and herbs. Add a big pinch flaky salt to the bowl and a good grind or two of black pepper. Toss with a big spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed- it will likely need salt. Eat immediately or- even better- chill for a bit to allow flavors to blend and get all friendly and cuddly with each other. Enjoy!
Variations, notes, and a larger batch:
For a less intense allium flavor, add the alliums to the bowl first, along with the vinegar and lemon juice. Let it marinate while you peel ad slice the cucumber. This will take some of the anger out of the allium and leave you with a gentler allium flavor. Personally I love the boldness of raw shallot/onion/and yes even garlic, but I recognize that not everyone feels the same!
White vinegar can be used in place of the red wine vinegar- or try a mixture! My Mama marinates cucumbers in white vinegar and water with dill, which is delicious. The flavor of those cucumbers definitely inspired the flavor profile of this salad- but I had to put my own spin on it, of course. I love the combo of vinegar and fresh lemon juice, and I reeeaaaally think you will too.
This salad is quite liquidy. That's ok! Don't worry about how juicy it is, it really needs all the vinegar and lemon juice. Just trust me on this. After the salad has been devoured, use the pool of vinegary goodness left in the bowl for a back after a healthy shot of bourbon. Or, just drink it solo. It may burn a bit, do not be alarmed. It is vinegar after all.
For Four Cucumbers:
4 medium cucumbers
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ lemon juice
1 cup thinly sliced allium of your choice
1 cup roughly chopped fresh dill or tender herb of your choice
flaky salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste