Cool as a Danish Cucumber

It was too hot to move, but I thought ahead to later that afternoon when it would still be too hot to move, but we’d be hot and peckish.  Wishing for something crisp, refreshing, quenching.  Then it hit me.  Thanks to my late grandmother, Irene, I had a simple and delicious idea.  It was something she would make on hot summer days at the farm in New Hampshire.  It was time for Danish cucumber.

Cucumbers are thinly sliced, salted and pressed with a weight in the fridge, drawing out much of the excess moisture.  They’re then drained, tossed with apple cider vinegar and dipped in sour cream.  I happened to have crème fraîche, so used that instead.  Worked beautifully.

As we re-pointed the fan toward us and tasted our first crisp, cucumber chip, we felt immediately rejuvenated.  Much like the French enjoy salted radishes with butter and salt, this was fresh, cold, zingy, tart and creamy all at the same time.  Except we didn’t feel French, we felt Danish.  And as cool as a…you know.  I had to say it.

Danish Cucumber

1 large hot house cucumber thinly sliced in rounds
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
sour cream or crème fraîche for dipping

In medium sized bowl, place cucumber rounds flat and in single layer.  Dust with salt.  Repeat process with remaining slices.  Press plate or other clean flat object in bowl on top of layered cucumber (it should be large enough to cover the cucumber and small enough to fit inside the bowl – I use a bread plate).  Weigh the plate down with something heavy such as a canned food item.  Place in refrigerator and let drain for as little as a few hours or overnight.  The longer the cucumber drains, the crisper it will be.  Remove and drain all water from cucumber.  Do not rinse (we want that salt!).  Toss cucumber rounds with vinegar to taste (I like vinegar, so will use a bit more).  Enjoy each slice of cucumber dipped in sour cream (or crème fraîche if you’re feeling fancy).  Put your feet up and feel the breeze.

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