Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Uborka saláta

After Marika's Raspberry Cake, the next dish out of the Villa Serena kitchen is Hungarian Cucumber Salad or, Uborka saláta. I've a good old goulash bubbling away on the stove, and you'll get that recipe soon too, but before then here's my favourite of all side dishes. A lot of traditional Hungarian food is rich and intense so this sprightly salad is a welcome addition to any meal. It makes a particularly tasty accompaniment to said goulash. Marika and Zoltán serve cucumber salad as part of Erzsi's welcome supper, when she arrives for her fourth summer at Villa Serena. They dine together on the terrace as night falls behind them and the fireflies come out to play.

'Our plates were piled high, the silvery slices of cucumber dripping off the edges. 
Zoltán poured the glowing wine into three glasses. In the candlelight it looked 
like magic caught and held.'

Ingredients (to serve 4):
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced as thinly as you can manage
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of caster sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Sour cream & paprika to garnish

Take your peeled and finely sliced cucumber and cover it with a very generous sprinkling of salt. If you're not a salt fan you might balk at this part but it really does make all the difference to the salad's perky taste. Leave it to stand for about half an hour, then squeeze it out using the flats of your hands and a colander. While the cucumber's enjoying its salt bath, make your dressing by combining the white wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and a crunch of black pepper. Once you've wrung a lot of the salt from the cucumber, douse it in the dressing, and throw in the finely chopped garlic. Combine thoroughly, and taste to check for seasoning. I like to top it off with a dollop of sour cream and a dusting of paprika.  Jó étvágyat!