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It is a rare restaurant in Budapest which serves traditional Hungarian food and has no version of this cucumber salad on its menu.  But ordering ‘Uborkasaláta is not without its surprises, albeit the basics of this salad are quite simple:  sliced cucumbers in a sweetened vinegar marinade which contains no oil of any kind.  Some versions add a bit of garlic, onion, dill or paprika; a purist may prefer no additional herbs or seasoning other than salt.  Marinating time will altar the salad’s character significantly:   the longer the cucumbers stay in the vinegar, the more they resemble a pickled vegetable.  Of the many varieties of this fresh-tasting salad the diplomatickitchen has encountered, none of them have been disappointing and all have something to recommend them.  Here is one rendition that may serve as a basis for developing your own customized ‘Uborkasaláta’.

Crisp Pickled Cucumber Salad ~ Ropogós ecetes Uborkasaláta  (for 4 people; to double the number of servings to 8, add 1 additional cup of sliced cucumber for each extra person and leave the amount of marinade the same.)

Note:  To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF. You will have the option of printing in smaller text size and without photos.

Timing Note:  The marinade should be made a day or several hours in advance so that it may be chilled before pouring over the cucumbers.  The sliced cucumbers drain for 1 hour before they are marinated.  In this version of the salad, the cucumbers marinate for only 30 minutes.

I.  Making the Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of peeled, thinly sliced Cucumber:  The pictured salad is made using English cucumbers, but any variety, so long as it is fresh, will be good in this salad.
  • Salt
  • the Marinade described in Part II below, well chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried Dill or 1 teaspoon of fresh Dill
  • 2 -3 Tablespoons of Parsley of any variety, chopped, plus a small branch of parsley for each plate for decoration if you like

Equipment:

  • 2 Bowls:  one in which to drain the cucumber slices and another in which to marinate them
  • a Plate that will fit down inside the bowl in which the cucumbers drain
    and some heavy Cans to weigh down the plate
  • a Food Processor fitted with a Slicing Blade will quickly and effectively slice the cucumbers or, slice them by hand with a Knife.

1.  Peel the cucumbers and seed them by running a small spoon down the length of each half, scooping out the soft, seeded center.  Thinly slice the cucumbers with a knife, or by running the halves through the slicing blade of a food processor:

2.  Put the cucumber slices in a bowl, sprinkle them with salt, and weigh them down by placing a plate on the cucumbers and one or two heavy cans on top of the plate.  Refrigerate the cucumbers while they drain for about 30 minutes.

3.  Take the cucumbers from the refrigerator, remove the weight,  squeeze the cucumber slices by handfuls to remove as much of their water as possible and transfer them to another bowl.  For a crisp salad, pour the vinegar marinade into the slices about 30 minutes before serving.  Return the cucumbers to the refrigerator while they marinate.  For a more ‘pickled’ result, marinate the cucumbers for an hour.

4.  With a slotted spoon, divide the cucumbers among salad plates.  Pour a little of the marinade over the salads and sprinkle them with parsley.  Add a branch of parsley for decoration if you like.

II.  Making the Marinade:

Note:  The marinade may also be used on French green beans or baby carrots which have been blanched for a minute and refreshed in ice water before marinating. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of Granulated White Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried Dill or 1 teaspoon of fresh Dill

Equipment:

  • a small, heavy bottomed Pot or Saucepan
  • 1 small Bowl

1.  Mix together the vinegar and sugar in the saucepan and heat them, stirring, over low-ish heat until the sugar dissolves.

2.  Pour the marinade into a small bowl and refrigerate it.  Once it has cooled a little, add the dill and return the marinade to the refrigerator until it is well chilled.

A Note:   Crisp Pickled Cucumber Salad ~ Ropogós ecetes Uborkasaláta is the Salad Course of the Dinner Menu:  Magyar Accents ~ a Dinner for Four.

An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012

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