I can eat this tomato and cucumber salad every day of the summer and never get tired of it!
It is not very often that Brad asks me to make a salad for dinner but he does in the summer all the time. And his favourite one is this tomato and cucumber salad. It’s not difficult to oblige because I love it as well. My affection for this salad goes way back as it is my mother’s recipe although so many of you would probably say, “Wait a minute, it is MY mother’s recipe”. Truth be told, this salad is a summer staple in every Russian and Ukrainian household and exists in two version; dressed with sour cream or unrefined sunflower oil.
It might not sound awfully exciting but this tomato and cucumber salad is as delicious as it is simple. Of course, the best of summer produce is the reason for its superb taste, so use only the best. First of all, tomatoes have to be very ripe and very sweet and cucumbers needs to be very fresh and crunchy.
Secondly, the only type of cucumbers that are usually used in Eastern European cooking are SMALL ones, so look for them in your supermarkets or farmer’s markets. They are called kirby cucumbers or sometimes Persian cucumbers. My kids love to munch on these crunchy, seedless guys after school. They are a tasty and healthy snack and absolutely perfect for dipping!
It might sound a bit bland to use only sour cream and salt for the dressing but it’s not all. All ingredients contribute to the divine flavour of this salad, but especially fresh dill and ripe tomatoes. After you make this tomato and cucumber salad, let it sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together, then taste the dressing and trust me you will be quite shocked by its complex and delicious taste. Who would’ve known sour cream can transform like that!
As a little girl I loved dipping my bread in it. Who am I kidding, I still do! Go for a dark rye loaf if you want to have a real authentic experience but actually any crusty white bread would do the trick!
You can also try tracking down sour cream or ‘smetana’ as it is known in Eastern European shops, otherwise creme fraiche works equally well. And by all means, use full fat for a full flavour and creaminess!
Enjoy and let me know how you like it in the comment section!
- 4-5 ripe tomatoes
- 4-5 Kirby cucumbers, small
- 2-3 spring onions, sliced
- 3-4 dill sprigs, leaves only
- 100 ml/1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
- Cut ripe tomatoes in wedges, slice cucumbers and spring onions including the white tops, chop dill.
- Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, add salt and pepper to taste. Add sour cream and mix gently, taste and add more salt if needed. (Salt generously for best flavour!)
- Serve with bread.