This week, Vera convinced me (some would say that she forced me) to agree on a theme that is not really to my taste.
There are thousands of food blogs that focus on healthy cooking these days… but as you may have noticed for almost a year now, we do not have the habit of watching what we eat and counting calories in the dishes that we publish. In reality, most traditional dishes of any country are not really healthy. Yes, men have always enjoyed eating. At any time and in any civilization, eating and feasting have always been a sign of wealth, power and pleasure.
So what happened in the past few decades? Eating has almost become a taboo or forbidden pleasure. Where have the true epicureans been? I have lived in California for 15 years now. And here more than anywhere else, the trend is yoga, fitness and kale salad… with dressing on the side please…
Well, I did make Vera happy for this “healthy” theme of the week but believe me, it will not happen again! And I must say it was very difficult to find a more or less healthy recipe that was typical of a country that we had not traveled to yet.
Cucumber contains between 90 and 95% of water. What’s healthier than water? Air perhaps? Well, I must admit that this recipe is very simple. But Hungarian chefs have their own take on it. Some will add dill, others will add onion or sour cream (or tejfeles as Hungarians call it). Yes, I know, sour cream is not exactly healthy… But did you really think I was going to eat cucumbers in vinegar just to please Vera?
Uborka saláta (that would be cucumber salad in Hungarian) is traditionally not served as a salad but rather as a side dish, often accompanying rich dishes like goulash. There was no way those stocky Hungarians were raised on cucumber salad alone!
My wife Anne has Ashkenazi (Eastern Europe Jewish) origins and was therefore very familiar with this dish that her mother made frequently when she was growing up. Needless to say she loved it and my kids also begged me to make it again. OK, I must admit that the version I served them was the cream-based version!
Come on, #DietStartsTomorrow!
- 2 English cucumbers , peeled
- ½ onion , finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Cut the peeled cucumber into very thin slices, preferably with a mandoline.
- Add salt. Mix well and set aside for at least an hour.
- Drain the cucumber in a colander. Squeeze the cucumber with your hands if necessary.
- In a bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar and onion. Some add a little water or some of the cucumber water.
- Pour over cucumbers.
- Garnish with sour cream and sprinkle with paprika.
- This salad (without the cream) can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.