Cool Cucumber Salad
“April 10: Planted two more beds of asparagus.
April 15: Cucumbers swell. Tortoise sleeps on. Radishes are drawn.”
-Reverend Gilbert White, The Naturalist’s Journal
This delicately pickled cucumber salad goes excellently with smoked salmon, the clear, fresh taste of the cucumber cutting through the richness of the salmon. It also picks up a rich, mayonnaisy vitello tonnato.
Note, though, that it needs to rest for at least an hour before you plan to eat.
Adding a little honey to the dressing seems to bring out the saltiness….the pickledness of this salad. If you have time, and more want a slightly more pickled salad, slice the cucumber and sprinkle over two tablespoons of salt, mix well with your hands, put in a colander, leave for an hour, and then rinse. Dress as described below, but omit the salt from the dressing.
Serve it with wholemeal soda bread.
Recipe for Cool Cucumber Salad
- 1 x large cucumber
- about 6 normal spring onions – not the really fat ones. white bit
- 2 tsps salt
- 1 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar (best is a chardonnay vinegar from Spain)
- 4 tbsps olive oil – or if serving with vitello tonnato the oil from the tuna tin
- 2 tbsp chopped dill – or if you can’t get fresh, Bart’s freeze-dried dill tops
- 12 grinds Indonesian long pepper, or a pinch of Urfa pepper
- ½ tsp honey – ideally a bitter honey such as chestnut
- Slice the cucumber and snip the spring onions (including an inch or so of the green if they are fresh) over them.
- Whisk the oil and vinegar together with the seasoning and honey and add to the cucumber.
- Leave for an hour or so, snip over the dill and serve.