Here’s another Swedish recipe for your smorgasbord. This salad is right up there with my favourite cucumber applications: it’s sweet and tart, and spiked with aromatic dill and plenty of black pepper. This is a fat-free salad, and its clean and crisp taste makes it an excellent side dish where you’re serving up oily foods. It works especially well, for some reason, with fish; this is just fantastic with salmon. If you want to serve up some smoked salmon (or, more appropriately, gravadlax) with your smorgasbord, make the dill sauce here on Gastronomy Domine, which tastes authentically Scandinavian and goes extremely well with these dilly cucumbers.
I’m enjoying cucumbers a lot at the moment, largely because my Mum has been growing some real corkers in her greenhouse. They’re smaller than the kind you buy at the supermarket, but are extremely sweet and with a good flavour. If you too are in a particularly cucumberish mood right now, have a quick look at my recipe for Chinese smacked cucumbers.
To make a Swedish cucumber salad to serve six to eight as part of a smorgasbord you’ll need:
2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 level tablespoons caster sugar (superfine sugar for Americans)
2 tablespoons boiling water
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small shallot, minced
1 small handful dill, chopped finely
Slice your cucumbers thinly and arrange in a colander, sprinkling with the salt as you go. Put a bowl on top of the sliced, salted cucumbers and weigh it down with the set of weights from your kitchen scales (a heavy book will do the job too if your scales are digital). Salting and pressing the cucumbers like this will drive out some of their moisture, leaving them much crisper, and better able to take up the flavours of the dressing. Leave the weighted colander for an hour (keep it on the draining board so the drips can fall into the sink). Remove the cucumber pieces to a large bowl, chill for an hour and pour off any extra liquid they might have produced.
To make the dressing, dissolve the caster sugar in the boiling water, then add the vinegar, shallot and dill. Mix well, leave to cool (I give mine a quick shock in the freezer) and pour over the chilled cucumber. Serve immediately.
I’m very fond of cucumber salads, and there are several on this blog – click here for a few more.