Friday, August 10, 2012

cucumber salad

Last night I brought this salad to a friend's house for dinner. It's from a cookbook I picked up from the Hominy Grill when vacationing in Charleston, N.C., a few years ago. It has since become one of my favorite summer sides, in part because Jon is a cucumber fiend and I know I'm forever his favorite chef when I put this on the table. And who can blame him? The pickled cucumbers and onions make a nice accompaniment to most anything off the grill, and I like the freshness of the parsley with the vinegar bite.

2 1/2 pounds of cucumbers (about 3 large), peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1 T salt
1/2 cup onion (about 1 small), sliced thin
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 T peanut oil (olive oil will do in a pinch)
1 T sugar
1 sprig of fresh Thyme
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed flat with the side of a chef's knife (or your palm)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (I sometimes add more, as Jon and I like a good kick)
2 T Italian parsley, finely chopped

Toss the cucumbers with salt and let them drain in a colander in the sink for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small pot over high heat, bring the vinegar, oil, sugar, thyme, garlic, and pepper flakes to a boil. In a large bowl, submerge salted cucumbers in ice water for 5 minutes. Drain completely and add the onion. Remove smashed garlic clove and thyme sprig from the hot vinegar mixture, then pour the mixture over the drained cucumbers and toss well to coat. Let cool completely. Add chopped parsley before serving.