My mother has always made delicious, thin but crunchy, sweet and tangy cucumber pickles for family gatherings. Recently my friend Laurel Miller made me a batch, enhanced with garlic and shallots, while I watched, and I couldn't believe how easy it was. So when I had a surfeit of pickling cukes on hand, I decided to try this myself. The salting is to release the extra moisture from the pickles so they don't become soggy, as well as adding flavor. If you use pickling cucumbers or English cucumbers, then the salting step can be very short. The longer you marinate the slices in the dressing, the stronger the flavor – and the softer the pickle. So choose the proper thickness for your slices based on your timing and personal preferences. Warning: These can be addictive!
2 pickling cucumbers (about 1/2 pound)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Wash the cucumbers and slice off the ends. Then slice in approximately 1/8-inch slices. Place in a bowl, toss with the kosher salt, and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the slices well in a colander. Place on a dishcloth or paper towel and pat dry.
Mix the white vinegar and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved. Place the cucumber slices in a shallow bowl and pour the dressing over them. Let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. If not serving right away, then refrigerate for up to several days.
Variations: Add mustard, horseradish, a pinch of crushed red pepper, or fresh dill, mint, or parsley to the dressing. You can also add very thinly sliced garlic or shallots to the cucumbers while marinating. The variations are endless, depending on your taste.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Jamie Stolper is the Food Editor of ShalomBoston.com and is always looking for new, easy, and delicious recipes. Send Jamie your recipe at firstname.lastname@example.org.