The Polish name for cucumbers in sour cream is "mizeria" literally meaning "misery," referring to the dish being conceived by peasants, who were nicknamed "the miserable ones" by the have-gots!
An alternative derivation of the name for this dish is that it was a favorite of Queen Bona Sforza, an Italian princess who married Polish King Sigismund I in the 16th century. Homesick for her native Italy where cucumbers were common, every time she ate it, it made her cry. Hence the Polish word for "misery," derived from the Latin.
This delightful, cooling salad is anything but "misery." It's a great accompaniment to pork, ham, chicken, fish, just about anything. Choose thin cucumbers with small seeds or the seedless variety. Dress this just before serving so the dish doesn't become watery. That's another reason my family doesn't use vinegar -- it waters down the dressing -- but it's a classic component of the dish.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings Cucumers in Cream
- 1 large cucumber with or without seeds, washed and trimmed
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
To marinate the cucumbers: Run a channel knife or fork down the length of the cucumbers to produce a pretty edge, and slice thinly. Place in a colander over a bowl to catch the juices and salt the cucumbers liberally. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
To make the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together sour cream, sugar, vinegar, if using, and dill until well blended.
To assemble the salad: Pat cucumbers dry and place in a medium bowl. Add the dressing and toss with the cucumber slices. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Chill until very cold and sprinkle with additional dill, if desired, before serving.