Cucumber Salad Danish Style

A delicious sweet cucumber salad served in Denmark with cold fish of all sorts, particularly and obviously herring. It goes well with cold salmon and, although a bit lengthy to prepare, keeps well in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber or, better but harder to find, 3 small pickling cucumbers
  • 60 g salt
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 200 ml white wine vinegar, cider vinegar or, best of all, rice wine vinegar

Method

Halve, peel the cucumbers, cut into finger lengths, and remove the seeds with an apple corer. Slice the cucumber finely and place in a glass or stainless-steel bowl. Weigh out half the salt and half the sugar, add these to the cucumbers and toss thoroughly. Leave to cure for a minimum of an hour, but ideally overnight. Put the remaining salt and sugar in a pan with the vinegar and bring to a boil. As soon as this mixture comes up to boiling point, switch the heat off and stir thoroughly in case any sugar remains undissolved. Allow to cool.

Assembling and Serving

An hour before you need the salad, drain the cucumber slices. Rinse out the bowl they were in and return them to it. Cover with water, swirl round a little then leave for 5 minutes. Drain and replace with fresh cold water. Repeat this procedure at least one more time until the cucumbers are desalinated enough (taste them). The reason for all the rigmarole with salt, sugar, squeezing and draining is to replace some of the cucumber’s water with the dressing: in short, making a pickle.

Once you have decided the cucumbers are ready, drain them one last time and squeeze them quite firmly to get most of their water out. They will look limp but still be surprisingly crisp to the bite. Dress them with the by now cold vinegar.

Other Salads

A classic summer salad of round lettuce (no designer leaves please), radishes, tomatoes, medium boiled eggs, freshly cooked beetroot (not in vinegar), spring onions and home-made salad cream is a traditional accompaniment to poached salmon.

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