I was absolutely thrilled when winter finally melted away (it was still snowing in April, here) and spring started to move in. It’s tradition in my household to open all the windows and doors, air out the home, reorganize and refresh after six months of stuffiness and cold. We blast Styx on the phonograph to dance and laugh… and cook 🙂 Once spring and summer roll around, I love to make my cucumber salad- a traditional side dish staple in my home and culture that appears on the table quite often. It’s super light, so it makes a great snack on a hot afternoon, or it can be a lovely dish to pass around the table at dinner. And for all you calorie-counters out there: There’s no butter, oil, or any kind of fat or sugar. Most cucumber salads you’ll find thickened with mayo or sour cream, but not this baby. She gets all her flavor from the spices and a little fermentation. I gathered these ingredients with the intentions of having leftovers. That’s the best part of good cooking, right? Leftovers! Cucumber salad goes with anything, so it’s nice to have extra. If you really want to serve this only once, I suggest halving the recipe. A half recipe can still serve a few people. Before I go any further, I just wanted to point out the importance of Hungarian Paprika in my cooking (and hopefully yours too). This wonderful red spice is the quintessence of Hungarian cooking, and it’s going to show up in quite a lot of dishes. Buy some. Hot or mild, whatever you like, it’s very helpful in the kitchen, and is actually pretty difficult to over use. Don’t let any babushkas fool you with “I use a secret ingredient”; it’s paprika. And with that, here is uborkasaláta:
*I highly suggest that you underseason when assembling the cucumber salad. You can’t really taste as you’re making this dish, and the fermentation process draws out all of the flavors. It is wise to add any more seasoning after it has fermented, just before serving.
The best part about this dish is it can last a great amount of time. Up to two weeks! Make a big batch if you know you’ll be snacking during the day, and enjoy the leftovers!