A Perfect Luncheon Side
Fire and Ice Cucumbers are another Southern staples. The slight acidity of this dish is a perfect complement to rich, meaty dishes like Central Texas BBQ Brisket or Southern Fried Chicken. Because this recipe is so simple, I hesitated to make it a post on the blog. That said, this recipe is a frequent request. Likewise, since Covid-19 has presented us with many other challenges, this is an excellent time for a quick recipe with a short ingredient list, especially since many items may already be in your cupboard or fridge.
The fire comes from red chili flakes and cayenne. Adjust the amount to your liking if this recipe is too spicy. Today I’ve used white onions along with the cucumbers, but yellow or red onions work as well. Similarly, ramps or wild onions would lend another level of umami.
I prefer using English/European cucumbers (also known as Dutch cucumbers, grown hydroponically). This type of cucumber offers easily digestible skin and seeds. Therefore, they do not need to be peeled or seeded. However, if you use Persian or large pickling cucumbers, they are best peeled and seeded.
Fire and Ice Cucumbers
- large cutting board
- Sharp knife, Mandoline slicer or thin slicing wheel on a food processor.
- wire whisk
- Medium mixing bowl
- medium storage container with lid for the refrigerator
- 2 large cucumbers, English, thinly sliced
- 1 whole onion, white, medium-sized, or ½ a large onion, julienned (Red or Yellow onions work as well)
- 1 cup sugar, granulated
- 1 cup vinegar, apple cider
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp salt, kosher
- ¼ tsp celery seeds, whole
- ¼ tsp cayenne, ground (optional)
- ¼ tsp chile, red flakes
- ¼ tsp pepper, black ground
Prepare Cucumbers and Onions
- Peel and core the outer skin from the onions and cut in half length-wise. Laying the onion on a cutting board, thinly slice into strips length-wise again (this cut is called julienne). Reserve.
- Peel and core the outer skin from the onions and cut in half length-wise. Then, laying the onion on a cutting board, thinly slice into strips length-wise again (this cut is called julienne).
Prepare Vinegar Solution
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, and salt. Whisk until the solids are dissolved.
- Next, add the seasonings: celery seeds, chile flakes, ground black pepper, and ground cayenne pepper.
- Using kitchen gloves, gently mix the vinegar solution together with the vegetables.
- Pour the cucumbers, onions, and vinegar solution into a container with a lid. Place into a refrigerator and let marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight before using.