A handwritten note from my grandmother on an early 1960’s newspaper recipe, “Danish” Cucumber Salad said, “Good!” So it must be. And so it is. Now, it’s even better.
As my Uncle Ken once told me, the handwritten recipes and the ones with notes are the best. So far this has rung true. This particular salad was originally good because it was full of sour cream.
But, I’ve taken the liberty to modernize it and make it healthier – and just as good! Previously it was made with all full fat sour cream and more sugar. Yum, but heavy and not good for you. I’ve swapped out the bulk of the sour cream for non-fat Greek yogurt and reduced the sugar. I’ve also added in scallions to provide a crunch and an element of heat to go along with the cool yogurt.
What makes this “Danish,” anyway? In the early 1960’s, commercial air travel really took off. In addition to exploring other cultures, suddenly it was in vogue to call things by other country’s names. Thus “Danish.” Frankly this could be from any Northern or Eastern European country, as I’ve seen variations of this type of cucumber salad all over (As opposed to Mediterranean cucumber salads which usually are vinaigrette-based). Whatever the origin, on a hot summer day or evening, give this a try!
Creamy “Danish” Cucumber Salad
- 2 medium-large regular cucumbers (It’s also ok to use English hot house cucumbers)
- 2/3 cup non- or low-fat Greek plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 1 small onion, very thinly sliced into rings (Use a white or yellow onion. Red is good, too, but may turn your yogurt pink. If that’s ok with you, its ok with me.)
- 2 scallions, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup white or white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon regular, granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher (not table) or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet (not smoked) paprika
- In a small bowl, combine sugar, vinegar and lemon juice and stir until sugar is dissolved
- If using regular cucumbers, completely peel them, slice in half lengthwise and de-seed by pulling the tip of a teaspoon across the seeds. Then cut lengthwise again, making long quarters. Finally, slice widthwise in half-inch pieces
- If using an English hot house cucumber, just wash it thoroughly but there is no need to peel or de-seed it. Cut it as described, above
- Peel and thinly slice the onion into rings. (If you have a mandolin, this is a great use for it. ) Then cut the rings in half. Place the onion slices in a large mixing bowl
- Place the cucumber slices in the bowl with the onions. Pour the vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar mixture over the cucumbers and onions and let rest for 15 – 30 minutes. Then drain well and discard the liquid. What you just accomplished was a very quick pickling process!
- Add the yogurt, sour cream and chopped scallions to the bowl with the drained cucumbers and onions. Mix thoroughly
- Right before serving, mix in the salt and paprika. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired
- This is best served right away (if stored, the salt will begin to draw out liquid from the cucumbers)