A simple cucumber salad is one of the greatest delights of summer. It's light, crisp and tart and pairs perfectly with just about anything you decide to cook or grill. And it only takes about five minutes to throw it together.
While certainly any cucumber will do, I would strongly encourage you to use English cucumbers. They are firmer than the regular cucumbers you find in your grocery store and therefore need no prep.
Regular cukes need to be cut in half first and the seeds scraped out with a spoon. So why not save the labor and choose the better cucumber for this recipe? That's what I do.
The cucumber slices need to be thin. So your options are: by hand with a knife; by automation with a food processor; or my personal favorite, a mandoline. I find with the latter, I can slice all three cucumbers in less than a minute.
This is a great salad to serve with bbq or grilled meat because it is so light and refreshing. But one of my favorite ways to serve it is turning it into an entree. Again, the simplicity of the salad is what's key. I make the salad per the recipe and then top it with lump crab meat from my favorite store, Costco.
Shrimp or bay scallops work equally well. Just make sure they are cooked and well-chilled...and you have the perfect meal for a hot summer night. This Emeril Lagassi recipe yields four servings as an entree or six if you are using it as a side salad.
3 English cucumbers
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
- Slice the cucumbers crosswise as thinly as possible, ideally about 1/8 inch. Place slices in a medium, non-reactive bowl.
- In another medium reactive bowl, combine the two vinegars and sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and stir thoroughly to combine.
- You can either serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
Wine pairing: If you are using this recipe as a side salad, the wine selected should be driven by the entree. If you are going to use the salad as an entree with some of the suggested seafood, I would choose an oaky Chardonnay.