I am going to be honest with you, I love cucumbers, but really could not care less about pickles. Somewhere between cucumber and pickle the whole thing just takes a wrong turn for me. What was once crunchy, juicy and fresh ends up suspended in a fluid like a science experiment; lifeless, salty and lacking any of the original characteristics of it’s fresh counterpart.
My husband and kids have asked me to try my hand at pickling, and I really am just not interested. So I offer up Thai Cucumber Salad as a middle ground. The ingredients hint at pickles, you have your cucumbers and vinegar, and well… I guess that is about it…
Thai Cucumber salad maintains the integrity of the fresh cucumber though. There is not heating process (which I suspect is the exact moment pickles lost me), so the cucumber holds it’s own in the sweet and sour marinade. It is a crunchy and bright summer salad, that does not require any cooking, so you can stay as cool as umm… a cucumber.
Thai Cucumber salad has become a summer staple in my house. It seems no matter what kind of year we are having weather wise cucumbers somehow manage to be the rock stars of the garden, and we have an abundance of them! I also bring this to picnics all the time. To make sure it is palatable for the whole crowd I soak the raw onions in ice water, which takes the bite and pungency out of the onion, and use Anaheim pepper instead of jalapeño pepper. The only thing I ever bring home is an empty bowl.
Thai Cucumber Salad
- 3 large cucumbers (peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch slices)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 medium anaheim or jalapeno pepper (finely minced, cored and seeded)
- 1 medium carrot (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup peanuts (chopped)
Toss the cucumbers with the salt in a colander, and set over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Whisk together the sugar and vinegar in a mixing bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cucumbers, pepper, and carrot; toss to combine. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top before serving.
If desired, to reduce the pungency, of the onion, place onion slices into a bowl of ice water to stand for 30 minutes before draining.