Here’s a great way to use all the cucumbers and onions that find their way into the farmers’ markets. And it’s a nice dish to make with cucumbers that have been in your fridge for about five days. For vinegar, scout around your market and try what’s locally made. Apple cider or raspberry vinegars are good choices, or any lighter-style vinegar that won’t overwhelm the delicate flavor of the cucumbers. Also, because vinegar dulls the herbs, you might refresh the pickles with a new sprig just before serving.
2/3 cup white wine or apple cider vinegar
¾ cup sugar
2 red or white onions
2 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced and peeled only if the skins are tough
A few lovage leaves, fennel greens or dill sprigs (substitute celery leaves for lovage if needed)
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
3 tablespoons olive oil
Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt and set aside, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved.
Thinly slide the onions into rounds, then toss them with the cucumbers, herbs and peppercorns in a noncorrosive bowl or jars.
Add the oil to the vinegar, stir well, then pour over the vegetables. Toss well, then cover and refrigerate. It’s best if the pickles can sit for a day before being used.
— Adapted from Deborah Madison’s, “Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets”
Photos by Alison Penn