Quick-salted (malosolnie in Russian) cucumbers are a real treat, and a really lovely way to do something different with the summer glut. But make sure to use the small, sweet and very crunchy ones to get the best malosolnie experience. These always feature as part of a Russian summer alfresco spread and are usually eaten straight up, with no extra dressing or unnecessary entourage.
2 1/4 lb (1 kg) small crunchy cucumbers (or larger cucumbers cut into batons)
large bunch of dill
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 celery sticks, cut in half
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon fine salt
4 1/4 cups (1 liter) good-quality sparkling water
Trim the ends off cucumbers, then place them in a sterilized half-gallon (2-liter) preserving jar (putting it through a dishwasher on hot should do the job) together with the dill, garlic cloves, celery, and peppercorns.
Add the salt to the sparkling water and stir to dissolve, then pour into the jar. Close the jar tightly and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. The combination of crunchiness, slight fizziness, sharpness, saltiness, and sweetness in this pickle is just so special and utterly irresistible!
Recipe excerpted from Salt & Time: Recipes from a Modern Russian Kitchen by Alissa Timoshkina. Copyright 2109 Mitchell Beazley.
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