COOL HAND CUKE
I grew up eating my mom’s pantry salad of sliced cucumber, red wine vinegar, salt and cracked pepper. No oil. The beauty is the simplicity and tang. Of course, the formula is endlessly riffable. (For example, if I’m cooking stir-fry, I douse my cukes in rice vinegar and add a dash of sesame oil and some scallion or cilantro.) But on the hottest, laziest nights, I keep it old-school like Mom, adding a pinch of sugar to balance the vinegar’s bite. To me, nothing tastes better alongside a tangle of pesto pasta.