For those of us who eat low carbish, the cucumber is a miracle. After we get used to the welcome thrill of butter and burgers, each of us comes to a point where we long for refreshment. We want cool. We want cleansing. We want cucumbers. Cucumbers taste good, feel like real food, and soothe our longings for things vegetal. Certain cucumbers, that is. Not those nasty fat things with waxy skins, full of seeds. Not something we have to fool with a great deal. Something elegant. Something delicious. Something refreshing.
So take yourself to a grocery store and buy an English cucumber. No snickering! It only looks slightly obscene. It is harmless. You're going to enjoy this very much.
1 English cucumber 1 tablespoon good salt 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
Struggle with the shrink wrap, and free your cucumber. Trim the tiniest tip of each end. Get out a colander or strainer and your stand up grater with the wide slits, or use your fancy mandoline slicer. Set the mandoline to make the thinnest slices possible. Hold the cucumber quite straight, and keep your hands, fingers, nose, elbows, and other body parts away from the blade. I mean it! I have scars from one of those things. Now slice your cucumber into wafer thin slices into the colander.
Sprinkle the salt on the cucumber, tossing with a fork or with your other hand to distribute the salt throughout.
Next, you wait. Go water your houseplants, check on your pet otter, or call your mother. Let the salt soak out any cucumber bitterness for about 10 minutes, or up to half an hour.
Now wash your hands. With the colander over the sink, pick up handfuls of the cucumber and squeeze tightly. Slightly sick looking cucumber juice will drain out. Squeeze about 10 times all together, picking up a slightly different handful of cucumber each time.
Put your salted, wilted, squoze cucumber in a serving dish if you plan to eat it right now, or put it in a freezer container, if you prefer to let it chill and crisp a bit. Once it is in the container, sprinkle with the vinegar. Toss lightly with a fork.
Eat it now, or refrigerate. It is a light enough to eat as a salad by itself, or it is wonderful treated as a small bit of refreshing relish added to a plate of other wonderful low carb food.
Cool cucumbers will keep in your refrigerator for about five days. They get a bit softer as time goes on. You'll find they are far less salty than you imagine, as a great deal of the salt apparently goes down the drain with the sick green juice.
Each cup of cool cucumbers has about 2 g carbohydrates.
Ways to play with your cool cucumbers (I know you are not having any unclean thoughts here... you have already sliced and squeezed the thing beyond recognition):
- Add ¼ teaspoon dried dill weed or 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill and 1 tablespoon cream or sour cream to 1/2 cup cool cucumbers. Stir well and enjoy.
- Add 1 tablespoon finely minced scallion tops and 4 finely chopped cherry tomatoes to 1 cup cool cucumbers. Mix together gently, let rest a minute, if you can stand the wait. Eat. If you long for more flavor, chop 5 of your daily olives fine, and add as well. Kalamata are particularly good here.
- If you are even braver, take option 2 several more pungent steps. Chop two anchovies fine and add to the mix. Sautee the scallion tops with 2 finely minced garlic cloves in 2 teaspoons olive oil for a minute, until the greens are dark. Stop before you brown the garlic, or it will be bitter. Dump the contents of the pan, oil and all, into your cucumber-tomato-olive mixture. Stir and bite it before it bites you.