The temperatures are on the rise and we are happy for refreshing food. Cucumbers are on top of that list. They are cool, contain a lot of water, and are extremely versatile. No matter what you are cooking, chances are high, that a cucumber salad can go with it.
Though store bought cucumbers are not bitter anymore, home grown ones can be. Normally the bitterness sits close to the stem. To make sure you have removed all bitter parts, slice off a piece close to the top and lick. If it tastes bitter, repeat until there is no bitterness to the taste anymore. If there are hard kernels, or the watery flesh around them turned slightly sour, just cut the cucumber lengthwise and scratch out the kernels and the surrounding watery flesh with a tea spoon.
Cucumbers have a wonderfully subtle taste. The thinner you slice them, the better their aroma can mix with the dressing. There are salads like greek salad where the cucumbers are cut in chunks to obtain a distinct burst of flavor with every bite, but that is not our aim for today. Today we go for a smoother flavor.
No matter what kind of dressing you choose, first you wash your cucumbers. If they are not organic, or their skin is rather hard, peel them, remove the kernels if you prefer that, and then slice them. Really, really thin.
Add salt, pepper, oil or whipping cream (actually coconut milk works fine, too), wine or cider vinegar, and what else condiment you choose. Keep it simple! You don't want to overpower the delicious cucumber aroma. But: Don't be shy either. Taste and adjust the seasoning until it fits your taste! Mix everything thoroughly.
If you like, you can throw in some herbs: Dill pairs well with whipping cream, parsley goes with nearly everything, and cilantro is great for asia style. No matter what herb you pick, choose the leafy ones. Harder ones like thyme or rosemary can be overpowering.
Well now it is time to slice and mix and taste for yourself! Below you'll find some ideas to mix and match or you can find the complete illustration in the gallery.
Enjoy and stay cool!