Piquant Cucumbers & An Early Autumn Picnic

A bouquet of seed heads

Whenever I need a tasty side dish, I like to use my own recipe for quick pickled cucumbers seasoned with turmeric, mustard seed, asafoetida, and sumac. They are slightly pickled in vinegar and kosher salt, but maintain their crunchiness. I recently served them alongside homemade lovage and cheddar bread, heirloom tomatoes, fresh Camembert cheese, and delicious Italian pear preserves infused with the pungent flavor of mustard seeds, for a simple picnic lunch at Battery Park City in lower Manhattan.

Piquant Cucumbers

A simple and delicious side dish that can also serve as a dressing for a fresh green salad with tomatoes.


1 kirby cucumber, cut lengthwise into quarters
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbs white vinegar
2 Tbs grapeseed or other neutral oil
1/2 Tbs yellow mustard seeds
dash of asafoetida (optional)
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground sumac (optional)

1. Heat oil and mustard seeds gently in a small saucepan until mustard seeds begin to pop.
2. Meanwhile, put cucumbers in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with salt, turmeric, and sumac.
3. When mustard seeds are ready, remove from heat and sprinkle with asafoetida. Pour oil and seeds over the seasoned cucumbers and toss. Serve immediately.

One of the ducks in the lotus pond, Battery Park City


Anonymous said...

I'm happy to have this recipe now with the
abundance of cucumbers I have in my garden
at this time of year. Your picnic sounded like
a delightful outing. Battery Park City has some of the loveliest garden spaces in NYC.

Rajani said...

just discovered your beautiful blog, lovely pictures there's art in every shot of yours, interesting recipe and i love the seedhead bouquet.