Easy to make this Cucumber Onion Salad recipe, but you gotta get your hands wet!
The title got you didn’t it? Hand squeezed salad? Seems quite an old-fashioned way to cook, but this is how cooking was done in the olden days. This salad uses a trés vintage method to make this passed down through the generations recipe. Trés old-fashioned with a trés bon result.
Hope I didn’t mislead you on all the ‘trés’ that emulate this close to my heart recipe. This recipe isn’t French and I’m not sure of exactly which European country this recipe originates from. Perhaps the background of this crispy and flavorful dish comes from Eastern Europe, where my grandmother came from?
The main ingredients use cucumbers and onions (two summer garden vegetables) and is an ideal recipe to use up the endless amounts of cucumbers that grow abundantly in the summer months. You must hand squeeze the liquid out from the cucumbers before adding the final vinegar sauce. It is this last step which is critical to the final result.
Ready for more? Read on.
All vintage recipes have a story behind them
First some personal history behind this salad. I grew up eating this vintage side dish, like all the time. My grandmother was an immigrant from what was formally known as Czechoslovakia. Her old-fashioned cooking methods (my brothers and sisters remember cheese my grandmother used to hang on the clothes line to dry) and recipes from the old country were part of our growing-up experiences. (How lucky we were!)
My mom now makes hand-squeezed vintage cucumber salad and her grandchildren (my kids) get as excited as I was when I ate my grandma’s side dish.
Cucumbers are now available year-round and we have vintage cucumber onion salad as part of the menu of our special meals, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mom had a special tool she used and still uses (!) to slice the cucumbers extra thin. It is called a Feemster vegetable slicer and it looks like this:
This kitchen utensil is at least 50 years old. They don’t make things today like they used too!
Recipe ReDux Challenge for this month is “Vintage Side Dishes”
Hand-squeezed cucumber salad recipe is my contribution to this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge theme of “vintage side dishes.” Check out my fellow dietitians contributions and stories below for side dishes that have been part of their families’ recipe collections. But now, the vintage side dish recipe. Bon Appetit!
Hand-Squeezed Vintage Cucumber Onion Salad Recipe
2 or 3 cucumbers
1 small to medium onion
Apple cider vinegar (preferably Bragg’s)
Salt and sugar to taste
Optional: Fresh parsley or dill (must use fresh not dried)
1. Peel cucumbers and slice very thin. If seeds are large you can ream them out first.
2. Peel and thinly slice onion.
3. Place onion and cucumber in a colander over a bowl. Generously sprinkle kosher salt or regular salt over all and mix. Let stand about 30 minutes.
4. Rinse cucumber and onion mix with cold water. Take handfuls of cucumber-onion and squeeze moisture out.
5. Put hand-squeezed cucumbers and onions into a large salad serving bowl.
6. Add generous dollop of mayonnaise. Add small amount of vinegar. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Add optional fresh parsley or dill.
7. Now the hard part! Mix the salad well and taste. Adjust mayo/vinegar ratio to your liking (ask for taste helpers to judge). Add more sugar or a sprinkle of salt if needed. It will depend on the individual taste how sweet/ sour you want your salad to be.
8. Serve immediately or place covered in refrigerator to serve within 48 hours.