With Yoghurt Mayonnaise Dressing
They are commonly known as pickles in US and Canada and gherkins in the UK and other parts of the world. They are small cucumbers preserved in vinegar, brine, or a similar solution and left to ferment for a period of time. The word gherkin can be very confusing because it refers to pickles made from two different species of cucumber. The first is Cucumis anguria, commonly known as bur gherkin, West Indian gherkin or Jerusalem cucumber. It is used for pickling but must be used when it’s 4cm long or less because it becomes bitter and spiny when it grows bigger.
The second is the common garden cucumber, known as Cucumis sativus. There are three cultivars: the slicing, pickling and burpless cucumbers. Slicing cucumbers are longer, dark green, with a thick smooth skin and are eaten fresh, in salads. Small slicing cucumbers can also be pickled. Pickling cucumbers: any cucumber can be pickled, but commercial pickles are made from a specific cultivar grown for pickling and known as picklers. Picklers tend to be shorter and thicker, with a pale greenish yellow and bumpy skin that is never waxed.
Burpless cucumbers are sweeter, have a thinner skin, and are reputed to be easy to digest and to have a pleasant taste. They are mostly grown in green houses and are marketed as seedless. They are many varieties like Lebanese cucumbers which are small with distinct flavour and aroma; East Asian cucumbers: mild with a rigid bumpy skin and Persian cucumber: which are mini, seedless and slightly sweet, just to mention a few. A more detailed overview of this can be found in Wikipedia.
The word ‘pickle’ actually describes any pickled vegetable such as cauliflower, celery, onion etc preserved in vinegar or brine or similar solution. Today I want to share with you a pasta salad recipe, with pickles, cucumbers, and other vegetables. And being a carnivore, (you guessed right), I had to sneak in some ham in the salad. I enjoyed eating it. Hope you do too!
Pasta Salad with Vegetables and Ham
Preparation time: 30 minutes + chilling time 30 minutes; cooking time: 10 minutes Serves: 4-6
- 300g pasta of your choice
- 300g (2 cups, 8½oz) frozen peas
- 300g (10½oz) ham, cut into small cubes
- 10 small pickles (gherkins in vinegar), finely diced
- 3 medium tomatoes, quartered, seeded and sliced
- 2 carrots peeled and coarsely grated
- ¼ cup each red, yellow, orange bell peppers (capsicum)
- 1 cup sliced cucumber
- 20g (¼ cup) chopped fresh parsley
Yogurt-Mayonnaise (I made half the recipe)
- 125g (½ cup) yoghurt
- 125ml (½ cup) light mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cook pasta in plenty of salted water, as per package instructions, until al dente. Drain, rinse under cold running water and leave to cool.
- Microwave peas with ¼ teaspoon salt until piping hot (5-10 minutes) and set aside to cool.
- Combine pasta, peas, ham, gherkins, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers cucumber and parsley in a serving bowl. Toss to mix.
- To make yogurt mayonnaise: whisk yoghurt, mayonnaise and vinegar in a bowl until creamy and well combined. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Stir dressing into salad. Chill covered, 30 minutes.
Points to note:
- If you prefer more yoghurt, make the ratio 2 yoghurt to 1 mayonnaise. I sometimes do that.