Hungarian Cucumber Salad

Lunch, Side Dishes


Salad Ingredients:

2 English cucumbers or 3-4 fresh garden cucumbers (cucumbers with small seeds are best for this)

2 tsp. fine table salt (for drawing the water out of the cucumbers)

extra sour cream and paprika, for serving

Dressing Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves, finely minced (more or less to taste)

1/4 cup white wine vinegar (any mild vinegar can be used, but don't use a sweet vinegar)

1/2 - 1 tsp. sweet paprika, to taste (Al recommends Szeged Sweet Paprika)

1/4 cup sour cream (full fat sour cream is best for this, but you could use light if you wanted)

2 T olive oil (we used extra virgin; other mild salad oil will work)

fresh ground black pepper to taste


Peel the cucumbers, cut in half crosswise so they are easier to hold in your hand, and score the outside of each cucumber by drawing a fork down the side, until all the outside is scored into ridges.  Slice cucumber into even, thin slices.  (We used myZyliss Mandoline with the 3mm size blade, but you can also cut the cucumbers with a knife if you don't have a mandoline.  Please be VERY CAREFUL when using the mandoline.  It's better to eat the end piece of each cucumber than to slice your fingers!)

Put the sliced cucumbers into a bowl and sprinkle with table salt.  Use your clean hands to toss cucumbers together so they're all covered with salt, then let cucumbers sit and release their liquid for at least 15-20 minutes.

While cucumbers are sitting, make the dressing.  Finely chop 2 cloves of garlic.  Whisk together the minced garlic, vinegar, sweet paprika, sour cream, and oil.  I would start with 1/2 tsp. of paprika and then taste to see if you want more (we did.)  Season the dressing with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

After cucumbers have been sitting for 15-20 minutes to release the liquid, put them into a colander and let the liquid drain off.  Then put a small plate over the cucumbers in the colander and gently press down to squeeze off as much liquid as you can.  (You can also put cucumbers inside a clean dish towel and gently squeeze to remove the liquid.)  Blot cucumbers dry with a paper towel.

Put cucumbers back into the bowl (which you have dried out with a paper towel).  Add the dressing mixture and gently combine.  This salad is best when it sits for about 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors combine.  Serve with additional sour cream and paprika to add to the salad at the table if desired.


This salad will keep overnight in the fridge, and may even be better the second day.  (I gobbled up all my leftover salad for breakfast the next day, so I don't know if it will last longer for one day in the fridge.)