cucumber, mustard and dill salad

Thanksgiving 2012 came and went.  It amazes me how quickly the meal can be eaten.  All the time spent preparing for the big day – one day devoted to what recipes to try, and what ones to remove from the menu because they weren’t a hit.  One day pulling together the shopping list, dividing perishables from non-perishables for easier navigation through the mayhem that is the grocery store.  And four days of shopping and cooking as if all of New Jersey was coming to my house for dinner.  I have hosted for the past 10 years, ever since my fist child was born, bringing both sides of the family to my house.  Over the years I have tried three different turkey stuffings trying to find my own, broken potato ricers, forgotten pre-prepared dishes in the garage fridge and learned to brine a turkey.  It’s always an adventure hosting a crowd ranging from 10-15 every year but I thrive on it.  This dish is an ode to my dad’s mother who made this with cucumbers, onions and vinegar.  My mom took to making that dish herself and I continue to make that version as well.  This one is a little more dressed up I like to think, and it kicks off my Thanksgiving meal prep.  Plus it gives me an excuse to buy dill which I never do any other time of the year.  I feel a sense of accomplishment getting this one easy dish out of the way, before tackling the rest of the groceries….way too many groceries…just look at all of them.  I need a drink.

cucumber, mustard and dill salad (adapted from Gourmet Magazine)

4  tsp white wine vinegar
2  tsp Dijon mustard
1/2  tsp salt, or to taste
1  tsp sugar
2  TB olive oil
1  large seedless cucumber (usually comes plastic wrapped), peeled, halved and seeded
2  TB fresh dill, chopped

get started on the cucumber salad:

Peel cucumber and halve lengthwise.  Using a teaspoon, scrape down the center to remove the seeds.  Using a mandolin (or sliced manually), slice cucumbers in 3/16″ thick slices.  Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt and sugar in a bowl, and then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined.  Add cucumbers to the vinaigrette, tossing to coat.

note:  I felt 1/8″ slices were too thin and 1/4″ slices were too chunky, hence the kooky 3/16″ thickness….go with what you like.  Oh and adding crushed red pepper is always welcome!


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