Tuesday, September 27, 2011

German Cucumber Salad (Gurkensalat)

Since I don't seem to have much to share regarding my crafting front (except I did another 3 long rows on my giant granny), I thought I would share another German recipe with you all. Personally I could eat cucumbers any which way, but this is certainly one of my favorites. Since I live by myself, it is a quick snack that I can whip up in minutes. Luckily I had some nice gardening friends that shared some of their loot with me. Lucky girl I am, right? Well hope you try it sometimes.

1 large cucumber
1 teaspoon salt
1 /4 cup red onion strips (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh herbs chopped
such as dill, parsley or basil (optional)
1/2 cup cider vinegar, wine vinegar
2 tablespoons oil
2 - 3 tablespoons sugar *
*Splenda can be substituted to lower calories or carbs.

This salad can truly become something that folks will comment on at a dinner and request over and over. It has been handed down from generation to generation in our family as a favorite. Also most major cuisines, be they German , French, Asian or Africa or South America , cucumber salad is a favorite. It adds a refreshing contrast to rich foods.
This recipe goes through some of the techniques to achieve two important things in marinated cucumber salad;
1.Crisp and Crunchy
The right crunchiness of the cucumber slices because as there is a natural enzyme in the cukes that breaks down the structure and it's activated when the cucumber is cut.
2. Tart and Sweet Refreshing Dressing

Keeping the dressing from being diluted by the water leeching out into it. I have often eaten bland cucumber salad because there is so much water in it, and it also leeches out and thins the dressing.
I find that if you take part of the skin off they are still very colorful but not as tough So I peel the cucumbers but skip a row as I go around the cucumber.
Slice the cucumbers about 1/8 inch thick. I find that if they are too thin they get soggy fast..
I use a channel cutter that makes nice groves. You can buy them at kitchen
tool stores.
A fork works nicely to make groves also , You can either peel the cucumber or leave it
unpeeled if you want.
If you have an older cucumber you can it in half , and then scoop out the tough seeds.
Then I cut in half and slice wedges.
Ok on to removing some of the moisture from the cucumbers and making them crisp.
The usual way to get water out of the cucumbers is to salt them and let them sit for awhile.
After 15 to 20 minutes you can see the board is soaked. The problem with this is that it is easy to over
wilt the cucumbers and they can become soggy. There is also an enzyme in the cucumbers that tends to break down the structure of the cucmbers that is activated when you cut them.
Cook's Illustrated Test Kitchen did a bit of research and found that you can put the slices between paper towels and let the water wick out of the cucumber. This is also a good way if you want a slat free cucumber salad. If you want you can salt these cukes just a bit and it will hasten the process.
You can see the wet paper towels after about 20 minutes even without salt.
This is the difference with salt and no salt. the one on the left is no salt and the one on the right has been salted. The same amount of slices, but the salt breaks them down much more.
I started out with half a cup of apple cider vinegar
I simmered it, NOT boil as this tends to dull the taste of the vinegar.
I reduced it by half , but 1 / 3 would have done just fine.
Then add the sugar
Add the oil
Add the onions and herbs if you want and taste. You can add salt and pepper if you want and let it sit
in the fridge a bit. I think you will be happy that the slices have a really great texture!

1 comment:

  1. hello erika,
    mmmh your gurkensalat looks very delicious. i like gurkensalat,too.
    it seems we like the same,how crocheting,baking etc. nice blog!!!
    have a nice time,


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