Just about the only thing I’m able to grow this year, strangely, are cucumbers. They’re partial to their sunny ledge where they catch late afternoon heat, and yesterday I plucked six of them from their vines. They might have gone straight to the food bank if they weren’t just about the only thing we’ve harvested all summer.

In any case we love eating them. We slice them into garden salads on warm nights and puree them into green gazpacho on hot ones. But that’s not enough of a repertoire for six at once, so I scurried off to consult my cookbooks, where the cucumber is always a bridesmaid, and never the bride. Chefs slice them into salads, tea sandwiches, gingery relishes, and yogurt soups. Bartenders all over town muddle them in gin cocktails.

In other words, they mostly work behind the scenes, contributing their crisp, cooling texture and a flavor that borders on the herbal. But those qualities get center stage in this fresh cucumber pickle, which is wonderful alongside grilled fish or meat.

Recipe: Fresh Thai Cucumber Pickle

1 cucumber / several rounds thinly sliced sweet onion / 3 tbls rice wine vinegar / 1 tbls sugar, or more to taste / 2 tsp chopped fresh mint / 2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro / hot pepper flakes to taste / salt to taste

Peel the cucumber if you wish. Halve lengthwise, then slice crosswise and add to a mixing bowl along with sliced onion. Whisk together rice vinegar, sugar, mint, cilantro, and optional pepper flakes and then toss with cucumbers. Taste and correct salt if desired. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes so flavors can blend. Serves 4 as a side.

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