Variations on a Cucumber Theme

Ah, summer! Here are two recipes for summery cucumber salads, one cooling and one spicy. I love using the Persian cukes that are so readily available in the farmers’ market by our house (often also found in Trader Joe’s). Of course, if you have a garden, look no further! If you can’t find anything quite so satisfactory, seedless English cukes are good (wish they weren’t always wrapped in plastic!), and even plain old cucumber cucumbers are fine, although to be the best, they should only be eaten in season: the tough-skinned, full-of-seeds specimens from conventional supermarkets are a poor choice and should be both peeled and seeded before use.

Cucumber Salad

One of the easiest and most delicious side dishes, particularly for picnics and spicy meals. Very child-friendly, so when I know the other vegetables at dinner may not be so well-received, this is a great summer standby.

ingredients:

  • 4 ea Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 tsp salt

dressing:

  • 1 tsp ginger root, minced
  • 1 T light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar

method:

  1. Slice the cucumbers into 1/4″-thick rounds or slightly on the diagonal into ovals (a mandolin is great for this).
  2. Toss the sliced cucumber with the salt, then place in a strainer over a bowl for at least 30 m.
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
  4. Ten to twenty minutes before serving, pour off the accumulated juice from the cucumbers, then toss the cucumbers with the dressing, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

do ahead:

  • If you are going to be preparing this salad in advance, chill the cucumbers while they drain.
  • The dressing can be made up to several days in advance.

Spicy Cucumber Salad

A simple salad that is great for spicing up a meal when most of the dishes are for the faint of heart or for the kids!

ingredients:

  • 4 ea Persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 tsp salt

dressing:

  • 1 tsp chopped salted chilies
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

method:

  1. On a cutting board, smack the cucumbers with the flat side of your knife blade (cleavers are great for this!) until they split slightly.
  2. Cut into bite-sized pieces, mix gently with the salt, then place in a strainer over a bowl for at least 30 m.
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
  4. Ten to twenty minutes before serving, pour off the accumulated juice from the cucumbers, then toss the cucumbers with the dressing, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

do ahead:

  • If you are going to be preparing this salad in advance, chill the cucumbers while they drain.
  • The dressing can be made up to several days in advance.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s