|A cucumber and sweet Vidalia onion salad, dressed with a vinegar and sour cream dill dressing.|
Sour Cream Cucumber and Onion SaladThe cucumber consumption has begun!! I think that I have been through at least a dozen cucumbers in the past week, because when it starts getting hot here, and believe me, that comes fast in the Deep South, I eat a lot of cucumber salads.
Cucumbers are something like 95% water and they really do have a cooling effect on the body, so the phrase "cool as a cucumber" truly does have some meaning to it. They are surprisingly full of antioxidant vitamins also, help to rid the body of toxins and have many other health benefits.
There are lots of different ways to make a cucumber salad of course, but I share a love for this very simple version with many Southerners, varying among us usually only by the division of ratios between the ingredients. One of our faithful readers, Sara, offered her mother's vinegar recipe so I used that as the backbone for my sour cream dressing and it was perfect for me. To make the vinegar version, I simply increase the white vinegar and sugar to 2/3 cup each, omit the sour cream and I like to use celery seed for that one in place of the dill, though either is good.
As always, there are a number of multiple variations out there for the sour cream version, of course. Some folks, like me, like to add dill. Others like caraway or even celery seed, both of which are excellent add-ins. Some like the cucumbers very thinly sliced, others, like me, prefer this version with more chunky slices. Some use yellow onions while I find them too strong, and much prefer our beloved sweet Vidalias, and others prefer salad dressing (like Miracle Whip) or mayonnaise over sour cream, or some blend of them.
One thing is for certain. Though you can get away with it on the basic vinegar salad, many cucumber salads are just going to taste flat and bland if you try to make them and consume them immediately. They really need a little time to meld and allow the flavors to soak in and marry well, and that is especially true with this sour cream version.
With all that water content, you aren't going to avoid the cucumbers creating a little water in the sour cream dressing as they rest, but the salting process does tend to help draw out at least some of the liquid and also flavors the cucumber nicely. Don't be fearful - much of the salt will drip away, although you can also use your salad spinner to help the process before adding the dressing. If you do omit the salting process, you'll want to add in some salt with your dressing.
Here's how I make it.
Peel cucumbers and slice about 1/2 inch thick. Add to a colander placed on a rimmed dish, toss with salt and let rest for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The salting will help to draw out some of the water, enhance the texture and help to remove bitterness that cucumbers sometimes have.
For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, sour cream, pepper and dill weed, if using. If I've got dill growing I use that, otherwise dried is fine too.
Halve and slice the onions into thick slices, adding to the dressing with the cucumbers.
Toss, cover tightly and store in refrigerator for several hours, or preferably overnight, before serving, until well chilled, stirring occasionally. Toss before serving. While you can get away with mixing up and serving the plain vinegar version right away, the sour cream version really does need this resting time so that the cucumbers absorb the flavors.
To make the vinegar dressing for this version, I simply increase both the sugar and white vinegar to 2/3 cup each and I personally like to substitute celery seed for the dill in this one.
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Recipe: Sour Cream Cucumber and Onion Salad©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 2 hours | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings
For the Dressing:
- 4 large cucumbers
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 extra large Vidalia onion
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill (or 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed), optional
Peel cucumbers and slice about 1/2 inch thick. Add to a colander placed on a rimmed dish, toss with salt and let rest for at least 30 minutes to draw out some of the water.
For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, sour cream, pepper and dill weed, if using. Halve and slice the onions into thick slices, adding to the dressing with the cucumbers. Toss, cover tightly and store in refrigerator for several hours, or preferably overnight, before serving, until well chilled, stirring occasionally.
Tip: After the salting step, run the cucumbers through your salad spinner to spin off any remaining moisture and salt before proceeding with the recipe.
Cook's Notes: Substitute mayonnaise, Greek yogurt or buttermilk (use half) for the sour cream if you prefer. Don't expect to mix this up and then consume it immediately, or you will have a bland, tasteless salad. It really needs time to mellow and allow the flavors to soak in, and that means letting it sit overnight in the fridge, or at very least, 2 to 3 hours. If you omit the salting step, taste and add salt as needed.
Cucumber and Onion Vinegar Salad: Increase the vinegar and sugar to 2/3 cup each and omit the sour cream. I like to use celery seed instead of dill in this version.
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©Deep South Dish
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