The Pickled Cucumbers I Take Everywhere From 'Marcus Off Duty'

Helga's meatballs
Photograph: Paul Brissman

Pickled in a solution of water, white wine vinegar, sugar, a bay leaf and a couple of allspice berries, these cucumbers from Marcus Samuelsson's new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty, are super basic and spot on. The paper-thin slices of cucumbers, salted and rinsed, stay miraculously crisp, and are perfect for sandwiches, salads, or as a stand-alone side. The sweet pickle juice is used to enliven the lingonberry gravy for Helga's Meatballs (though I've also made salad dressing with it to serve with schnitzel, which killed). Samuelsson suggests using the liquid to pickle the veg of your choosing, and I plan on canning jars of these simple pickles as gifts for the holidays.

Excerpted from Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home © 2014 by Marcus Samuelsson. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Recipe Facts



Active: 15 mins
Total: 3 hrs 40 mins
Makes: 1 1/2 cups

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  • 1 English cucumber (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 allspice berries


  1. Slice cucumber as thinly as possible—ideally using a mandoline or Japanese V-slicer. Put cucumber in colander set over plate or in the sink, toss with salt, and let stand for about 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, combine water, vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, and allspice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool.

  3. Rinse salt off the cucumber, turn it out onto a kitchen towel, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Put cucumber in a 1-quart Mason jar and pour in pickling solution. Push cucumber down to make sure it’s completely covered, then put the lid on the jar. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. The pickled cucumber will keep in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.

    Note: English cucumbers are the very long ones. They don’t have a lot of seeds and in supermarkets they usually come sealed in plastic.