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Mission: Use Up Those Cucumbers!

August 29, 2012

Every year in February, I start to get antsy to get my fingers in the dirt and start gardening.

I pore over seed catalogs and decide that I really do need the fancy ‘Moon and Stars’ watermelon seeds or the newest ‘Indigo Rose’ tomato. The anticipation fills snowy days, curled up with mugs of hot tea, and temporarily soothes my gardening itch. And, without fail, when I see the first spindly starts at the farmer’s market, I go a little plant-crazy. The fuzzy leaves of cucumber plants seemed so innocent, calling out for a good home, and I happily obliged.

While I firmly believe there is no such thing as too many tomatoes, too many cucumbers pose a more immediate issue in my kitchen as they take over and seem to have no end! The following potato salad makes good use of all the gorgeous, fresh produce available now at the farmer’s markets and overflowing gardens.

6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
4 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1-pound English cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 10 medium), unpeeled
Additional coarse kosher salt
1 cup very thinly sliced white onion
8 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
scant 3/4 cup mayonnaise
Small radishes with green tops

Stir vinegar and 4 teaspoons coarse salt in small bowl until salt dissolves. Place cucumbers and 1/2 cup dill in heavy 1-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add vinegar mixture; seal bag. Turn several times to coat. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Pour cucumber mixture into large sieve set over bowl. Drain at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. Discard brine.

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain. Cool potatoes completely. Peel potatoes; quarter lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place potatoes in large bowl; sprinkle generously with coarse salt and pepper. Add drained cucumbers, onion, sliced radishes, and remaining 3 tablespoons dill; toss to blend. Let stand 1 hour. Stir mayonnaise into salad. Season generously with salt and pepper, if desired. (Salad can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mound salad in bowl; garnish with whole radishes. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

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