Last summer, I had such a windfall of homegrown cucumbers that I began shoving them in the mailbox as a gift for the letter carrier.
This year’s planting hasn’t been nearly as prolific, so I’ve been a bit more mindful about how best to prepare them. Gazpacho, pickles and cucumber salad are easy and tasty, but I wanted to do something unexpected with this limited crop of cukes.
Culinarian Elizabeth Heiskell offers a cooling cucumber dip in her latest cookbook, “Come On Over! Southern Delicious for Every Day and Every Occasion” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30). The recipe is a simple mix of cucumber pulp; dairy staples sour cream, Greek yogurt and mayonnaise; dill, garlic, salt and pepper for seasoning; and hits of vinegar and lemon juice for acid. But simple can be sublime.
“I beg you to try this knockout,” she writes in the headnote. Besides serving the chilled dip with crudités and crostini (or just grab a bag of tortilla chips as I did), she suggests pairing it with lamb, cold-poached salmon, or even hamburgers and hot dogs.
COLD CUCUMBER DIP
1½ pounds cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, de-seeded
Salt and pepper
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
¾ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons chopped dill
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar
Using a food processor, puree the cucumbers. Line a colander with a cheesecloth and set it in the sink. Mix 1½ teaspoons salt with the cucumber puree and transfer it to the colander. Let sit and drain for 1 hour.
Gather the cheesecloth together and give the cucumber one more good squeeze to ensure it’s as dry as possible.
Place the cucumber pulp in a bowl and add the sour cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar and teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
Add more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled thoroughly, at least 2 hours or as long as 4 days, before serving.
Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 120 calories (percent of calories from fat, 61), 3 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 8 g total fat (3 g saturated), 20 mg cholesterol, 108 mg sodium.
Excerpted from “Come On Over! Southern Delicious for Every Day and Every Occasion,” 2021 by Elizabeth Heiskell. Reproduced by permission of Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.