Anyone that has had the privilege of living near an old fashioned Jewish deli should have had the experience of Sweet and Sour Cucumbers. If you haven’t had this experience I can only feel sorry for you. Like chopped liver behind the counter or smoked whitefish glistening golden in the refrigerated case, sweet and sour cucumbers are a delicacy that sometimes needs to be sought out. Like a knight on a quest I searched and in this city (or group of cities depending on your views and taxation requirements) and low and behold I found one.
Unfortunately I had showed up on a Sunday morning and they were just getting back into the grind of the work week and it would be some hours before the sweet and sour cukes would be in the deli case. So as I settled down into a brunch of chopped egg and onion with a bagel the size of my head I asked: “How do you make the Sweet and Sour Cukes?”
I was then asked: “Why do you want to know?” my answer was simple, I wanted to make them at home and I wanted to post it on my blog. This got a laugh and an answer ( I suppose that if you tell people you are there to rob them of their secret guarded recipes, people become more open because you have stated that you want to steal their secret guarded recipes?) he told me that the guy behind the counter had the recipe.
I ordered a pound of liver to take away and some smoked whitefish, and asked: “How do you make the sweet and sour cucumbers?” And he told me:
“Take cucumber sliced, add sugar and onions, and vinegar and dill, oh and the onions should be sliced” That was all I needed, but now I have a fridge full of chopped liver, anyone need some?
Ingredients for the Sweet and Sour Cucumbers (For 4-6 marshmallowy peeps):
2 Cucumbers sliced paper thin
2 Red or yellow onions sliced paper thin
2-3 Tablespoons of sugar (Preferably brown sugar)
4-6 Tablespoons of white wine or cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons of fresh dill or 1-2 teaspoons of dried dill
½ Teaspoon of kosher salt
Mix the cucumber and the onion well. Then in a small bowl mix the sugar vinegar to taste (It should be sweet and sour at the same time; however it is very much to taste) pour this over the cucumbers in a non reactive bowl or plastic container. Add the dill, stir well with a wooden spoon, trying not to break up the cucumbers. Let this sit over night. This will keep well for a little over a week well covered in the fridge. Serve with thick cut dark rye bread or as a side to top bagels with cream cheese.