Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream and Dill Dressing
Oh summer, we’ve relished your gentle swelter. Let’s bring something cool to our barbecue covered palates. Crunchy, tangy and delightfully refreshing, this salad hits the spot. One summer and into fall I cycled through northern Europe. Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria and France all fell beneath my ever-turning wheels.
Outside of Zurich, in Neuchatel, Switzerland, nestled in the foot of the French Alps I got a job doing maintenance for a youth hostel. It was supposed to be a job for one weekend for room and board. After I built them a terraced garden hillside off of the front entrance using existing stones and plants they let me stay until the hostel closed in October.
The two women who ran the place treated me like a long lost younger sibling – bringing me snacks throughout the day and taking me into town to run errands or just to go have fun. One ubiquitous dish at nearly every lunch was a cucumber salad. Hilda would use cucumbers from the garden, creme fraiche from a local dairy farmer, onions and fresh dill, plus a dash of vinegar or lemon juice.
It was one of the most refreshing and delicious dishes I’ve ever had and is a summer favorite of mine. Excellent as a palate cleanser, a topping for sausages or just eaten on a hot day.
- ½ sweet onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup full-fat sour cream or creme fraiche
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, and some from garnish
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 4 to 6 cucumbers, halved and thinly sliced across
- Take the sweet onion slices and place them in a bowl with ice cubes and water.
- Let them sit while you combine the other ingredients.
- Combine sour cream, lemon juice and dill in a small bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper, and whisk well to incorporate.
- Add cucumbers and toss to coat.
- Add sliced onions after they have sat for five minutes or more.
- Garnish with more dill.
- Serve chilled.
Use this trick with onions to take away their potency when serving raw so they don't overpower other ingredients. Depending on the strength of the onions they may have to sit up to ten minutes or so.