Cucumbers. They're made mostly out of water and have a very mild reputation, but don't let them surprise you. Given the right mix of goodies, they can have a bite despite their gentle appearance. This relish is slightly sweet with a touch of brown sugar, but we stirred in some tart apple cider vinegar to make a quick pickle and cut through that sweetness. Then we stirred in some shallots for savory flavor and one...or two..Tien-Tsin Chiles. These small red chiles pack a bit of punch. We've left them whole so they don't release all their capsaicin at once into the relish, but the longer you leave them in, the hotter this relish will get.
We recommend using hothouse or English cucumbers for this recipe, simply because they have a thin skin and no seeds. All you have to do is slice them and they're ready to mix into the pickling liquid. You can certainly use the small pickling cucumbers here. If you use a standard, waxed cucumber, we suggest that you pull out the seeds and peel off the skin. The seeds give an odd texture to the overall dish and can be bitter, and the skin can impart a thick and unpleasantly chewy texture.
- In a small bowl, combine cucumber, shallots, and Tien Tsin Chile.
- Heat apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan. Add sugar, Kosher Salt, and Black Pepper Fine Grind and mix well. Heat until sugar and salt is dissolved.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- Pour liquid over cucumber mixture, cover and refrigerate an hour.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro if desired and serve.