These chips are good for you

Marinated Cucumber Chips 1

This, friends, is a cucumber dish with an identity problem.

It started as an appetizer. I’ve been eating these mini English cucumbers by the bagful – locally grown they are not, but they’re adorable, which is almost as good – and at the top of the list, just above the variation on a Greek salad, there’s been a quick pickle. I’ve been salting, rinsing, and sprinkling with rice wine vinegar. This time, I wanted to jazz it up a bit, with a good dose of garlic and a bite from red pepper flakes, but I didn’t want to wait. So I didn’t. I just chopped the cucumbers up, threw them into a bowl, and mixed them together with the garlic, pepper flakes, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and a sliced shallot. The idea was to set them aside until friends came for dinner.

Trouble came when I picked one up, five minutes after I made them. Even though they’d brined for such a short time, the flavors sang – so I ate, and ate, and ATE, the way you eat a salad, until I had to chop more cucumbers and remake the salad, because there weren’t enough left to actually fill the bowl.

Later, with friends, we agreed they’d be right at home on top of a flank steak flavored in a Vietnamese-style marinade, made with maybe some rice vinegar, fish sauce, ginger, and cilantro. Or atop a pate-smothered cracker. Or even in a taco, with spicy seared salmon.

I hesitate to call these pickles, because none of the things I associate with making pickles – boiling, sometimes salting, and usually waiting – are applicable. “Salad” is too boring. But “chips” – in one word, that encapsulates ultimate snackability, addictiveness, and deliciousness. So chips they are. (But I swear they’re healthier.)

Baby Cucumbers for chips

Garlic-Marinated Cucumber Chips (PDF)
Dunked in a mixture of garlic, red chili flakes, ginger, shallot slices, and rice wine vinegar, sliced baby cucumbers become infinitely snackable. Eat them alone, serve them in tacos, or use them to top a simple salad.

TIME: 10 minutes
MAKES: 4 snack servings

5 baby English cucumbers, cut into 1/2” rounds
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
Big pinch red pepper flakes (to taste)
Pinch salt
Pinch sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Let sit at least 10 minutes, and up to 4 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Marinated Cucumber Chips 2

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13 Comments

Filed under appetizers, recipe, salad, side dish, vegetables

13 responses to “These chips are good for you

  1. These look so good and refreshing! Your twitter post caught my eye!

  2. When I started reading the post, I was afraid you were going to fry the cucumbers. They look perfect in that dish.

  3. Linda Rorick

    These look really good, but, in your write up you say red wine vinegar – but the recipe says rice wine vinegar. Would it work using any type of vinegar?

  4. Suzanne

    I’ve been wanting to try making pickles, and i think these ‘chips’ will be the perfect start! Storage question: Have you had any last longer than 4 hours? :) Would they be as good the next day? Thanks!

    • Suzanne, they should be good the next day, but they’ll shrink and shrivel a bit as they lose water. Cut the chips thicker. They won’t be crispy, though…

  5. Brooke - in Oregon

    Oh yumm thanks, I think this is just what I need :)

  6. Andrea

    This is wonderful! I am on a 10 day no-dairy-egg-soy-wheat-peanut-tree nut-and-shelfish diet to see if my 5 month old is allergic to something I eat. On day 4 right now, and as much as I love fruits and veggies, I am starting to gett burt out. This sounds like a completley devine way to spruce up my dinner tonight. Thanks!

  7. Have I told you lately that I love you?

  8. I’d forgotten how much I love your blog!

  9. I agree with you 100 %. I used to make cucumber salad because it is my husband’s favorite and it really makes me smile if the bowl gets empty. I would love to try your recipe one of these days. I am sure my husband will be excited for the new taste.

  10. Pingback: A Snapshot: Pike Place Market Recipes |

  11. Pingback: Meal Plan – August 21st – August 27th « Jaime Cooks: Endevours in Eating & Entertaining

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