Mizeria (Polish Cucumber Salad)

This creamy, tangy salad is simple to make and pairs well with virtually anything from the grill.

The summer season is quickly approaching and everywhere you look, preparations are being made for the warm weather. The hyacinths and daffodils are in full bloom and very soon many will begin cleaning up their garden plots to make way for this season’s crops. In many of those gardens you will find one of the simplest and most refreshing vegetables to grow; cucumbers! What a lovely summer treat, cucumbers are. With a growing season spanning anywhere from 60-80 days from planting, it’s quite possible to enjoy cucumbers all summer long! Now the question is, what do you do with them all? One of my absolute favorite recipes to make with cucumbers is a polish salad called ‘mizeria’ (literally translated to misery in Romanian…)

As the story goes, an Italian princess was married to a Polish prince around the 16th century. Upon moving to her new home in Poland she was distraught to find the climate and food very different from what she knew in Italy. Several chefs were brought over from Italy bringing vegetables from the home she so desperately missed. Mixing those vegetables with the local ingredients available to them, this delicious salad was born. When the Italian princess tasted this creation she was overcome with sadness as the dish only made her homesickness worse. Thus the salad was called ‘mizeria’ due to the misery it brought her to eat it.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 2 cucumbers (sliced)
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

After washing your cucumbers, slice them into thin rounds. Don’t slice them too thinly as they’ll lose their crunch! Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl and pour the vinegar over top. Let them sit in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours to ensure they have ample time to soak, stirring occasionally (Remember, the longer you let them soak the more ‘vinegar-y’ they will be). Slice the red onion and add to the cucumbers to soak about halfway through. Drain the excess vinegar and mix in the salt, pepper, and dill. Stir in the sour cream and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat!

Sliced cucumbers soaking in vinegar.
Sliced red onion.
Drained cucumbers and onion with salt, pepper, and dill added.
Add sour cream and voila!

Some recommended pairings: grilled chicken, grilled corn, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and Italian sausage.

One thought on “Mizeria (Polish Cucumber Salad)”

  1. Oh yum! I’m am definitely giving this one a shot! It looks like such a refreshing dish too. Growing up, cucumbers always grew in the greatest abundance and with the least amount of effort in our family’s garden. Can’t wait for summer 🙂 thanks for sharing


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