I have been a member of the Roxbury farm CSA for the past few years. Being part of the CSA forces me to branch out of my broccoli-green bean- brussels sprout veggie rotation and try new foods like sorrel or tatsoi. I admit it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do with a few of the vegetables that no one in my house particularly loves... Would any of you like a bag of turnips and radishes that has been sitting in my fridge since early June?
Cucumbers are one vegetable that I have no problem finding a use for. I stockpile them for one of my very favorite summer recipes: Chilly Dilly Cucumber Salad. Clara often asks for seconds and thirds of this salad- the tart but sweet flavor is a real winner in our house. The recipe below is modified from the Roxbury farm website.
Chilly Dilly Cucumber Salad
- 2 or 3 peeled cucumbers (I peel some of the skin, but I leave some skin on to provide contrasting green lines for color. My favorite way to prep the cucumbers is to make the slices ultra thin using a grater )
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or cider vinegar (I sometimes use white wine vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
- 1/2 cup or more chopped scallion tops or about 1/4 cup of very thinly sliced onion (I use red or white onion- beware using red onion could give your whole salad a pinkish/purplish tint)
- 1/2 cup sour cream or 1/2 cup greek yogurt (I usually use greek yogurt, and if you are not eating dairy, this dish can be made without any sour cream or yogurt- it will just have a more vinegary taste)
- Fresh ground black pepper
Dissolve the salt and sugar in vinegar in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the vinegar, dill, onion, sour cream or yogurt and pepper. Mix together. Toss the cukes in the dressing and refrigerate for at least an hour or two. This salad does taste better with age. It may become slightly watery in which case just needs a quick mixing. You may want to add a crank of salt just before serving.
I remember when I tried to prepare this cucumber salad for the first time when I was in my teens visiting my grandparents. The recipe I was using at the time called for salting the cucumbers and then rinsing the salt off after before combining the cucumber with the other ingredients. I have never been one to follow a recipe too closely, and so I'm sad to admit in this case, I totally missed the part about rinsing off the salt. This cucumber salad was basically inedible because of the level of salt present, but my grandpa said he didn't notice anything wrong with it, and he ate all of it anyway-- true devotion on his part.
Another relative liked to make this recipe with a little extra sugar and a lot of sour cream. The good news is you can vary the ingredients mostly any way you wish and come out with a yummy dish.