My grandmother and my mother both made a version of this on hot summer days for a zingy sweet-and-sour side dish. I’ve reduced the sugar and added cherry tomatoes and black pepper and basil to finish.
Listen: For some summery tunes to match the sweet and sour of the salad, break out The Cars eponymous album from 1978 and “Let the Good Times Roll.”
Sip: Concoct a watermelon refresher by whirring a blender full of seedless watermelon cubes, the juice of 2-3 limes, and a cup of ice cubes. Adjust lime juice to taste.
This recipe serves 4 as a side.
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon salt
4 Persian cucumbers
1/2 of a sweet onion, such as Walla Walla
1 sliced orange, red, or yellow bell pepper
1/2-1 cup cherry tomatoes
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup slivered basil leaves as garnish
Place vinegar, sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. While it’s coming to a boil, wash and slice veg into bite-sized pieces and place in a heat-proof bowl. Pour boiled liquid over the veg, stir, and chill for at least one hour.
Crack some black pepper over salad before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon into small bowls and garnish with a bit of slivered basil leaves.