As the weather begins to warm up, I like to serve cold salads in numerous ways. One of my favorites is Cucumber Salad in a Creamy Dill Sauce. This week I was flipping through a cookbook given to me from my God-Daughter for a Christmas gift . . . “Barefoot Contessa Back To Basics” by Ina Garten, and found her version of this chilled salad. Ms. Garten, just like me, says that she loves cucumbers.
Her recipe is different than most traditional recipes in that she uses hothouse cucumbers and yogurt to create a “lighter and sweeter” flavor, rather than mayonnaise and/or buttermilk. There is also no sugar in this, which you might want to add if you like. One of the noticeable differences unique to her recipe that really makes a huge difference is that she drains the excess liquid from both the cucumbers and the yogurt. This produces a more silky, creamy sauce that is far less runny!
I also used some fresh dill from my garden instead of the jarred variety. Ina states that this cucumber salad is perfect to pair with grilled chicken and guess what we had for dinner? Grilled chicken! So I had to try her recipe! This recipe makes quite a lot, so I recommend cutting it in half if you don’t have many people to serve.
Creamy Cucumber Salad
very slightly adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Back To Basics”
4 – 5 hothouse cucumbers, seeds removed and thinly sliced with peel left on
1 – 2 small red onions, thinly sliced and then cut into half rounds
1-1/2 Tbsp. Kosher salt (I used sea salt)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (reduced from 4 cups in the original recipe)
1 cup sour cream
(or 2 cups of sour cream with no yogurt)
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar (or red wine vinegar is fine too)
1/2 cup minced fresh dill
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
1-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (I used 2 – 3 tsp.)
2 tsp. sea salt (my addition, since it’s in desperate need of it)
In a LARGE bowl, mix the cucumbers, red onions, and 1-1/2 Tbsp. of salt.
Pour them into a large colander and suspend over another large bowl.
Wrap the bowl and colander with plastic wrap.
Place this in the refrigerator to DRAIN for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Discard the liquid that collects in the bowl.
Pour the yogurt into a sieve/fine mesh strainer that is lined with a paper towel and suspend over another medium sized bowl.
Wrap the bowl and sieve in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Discard the liquid that collects in this bowl too.
When the cucumbers are ready, roll them up in paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Press the paper towels/kitchen towel lightly to remove most of the liquid from the cucumbers.
Place the cucumbers and yogurt in a large bowl.
Add the sour cream, vinegar, dill, 2 tsp. sea salt and the pepper.
Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend (this is a very important step not to ignore!).
Sprinkle again with salt and freshly ground black pepper if you prefer.
Garnish with snips of fresh dill for color!