It seems like summer is never going to get here. after a particularly long, cold and snowy winter here in New York, Spring has been pretty dreary with lots of rain and clouds. This can all be pretty depressing, but summer is only a little more than a month away and I cannot wait for it to get here. Summer means warmer weather, sunshine and the chance to make some great summer dishes. While I don’t so a lot of cooking out myself since we can’t have a good grill here at the condo, I do make a lot of different types of salads all summer long. I try to make salads that don’t use a lot of lettuce since Michelle is not a big fan of most lettuce, or at least a lot of lettuce. I had bought some English cucumbers last week and they were quite large, so I needed to try to come up with something great to make with them besides just slicing some up with some lettuce. I saw Ina Garten make this recipe on the Food Network one day and knew it was one I had to try. It is simple, easy, uses only a few ingredients, and tastes very refreshing. This recipe makes a large quantity, so I actually cut it in half when I made it but I am posting the original recipe here.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
4 hothouse cucumbers, thinly sliced (about 3 to 4 pounds of cucumbers)
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
4 cups (32 ounces) plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Mix the sliced cucumbers, sliced red onions and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the kosher salt in a large bowl. pour the vegetables into a colander and suspend it over a bowl. Wrap the bowl and the colander with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator to drain. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Discard any of the liquid that accumulates in the bowl.
Pour the yogurt into a fine mesh sieve lined with a paper towel or with cheesecloth and suspend the sieve over another bowl. Wrap the bowl and the sieve in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 4 hours and up to overnight so the yogurt can drain and thicken. Discard the liquid that accumulates in the second bowl.
When the cucumbers are ready, roll them up in paper towels or a dry kitchen towel and press the towel lightly to remove most of the liquid from the vegetables. Place the cucumbers and the drained yogurt together in a large bowl with the sour cream, the vinegar, fresh dill, 2 teaspoons of salt and the black pepper. Toss the mixture well and refrigerate the salad for a few hours to allow all of the flavors to blend together. Sprinkle the salad with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and serve it chilled.
Granted, it may take up a lot of refrigerator space while everything drains (at least it did in my small refrigerator) but it is worth it. You will be surprised just how much moisture comes out of both the salted vegetables and the yogurt. The yogurt comes out nice and thick and creamy. Pressing the cucumbers in a towel removes even more liquid to help keep them from getting too soggy. The yogurt and cucumbers and red onions go so nicely together and it may even remind you a bit of tzatziki sauce from Greek food. It is a great salad that will be perfect for summer parties and barbecues to give you something different from the typical coleslaw or potato salad. This is a great side dish that goes really well with chicken, ribs, pork or beef so you can use it for all kinds of meals.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!