Cucumber Salad

Summer is a season of abundant local produce. Not a week goes by without fresh tomatoes from the garden and gifts of cukes and summer squash from friends and co-workers. We do our best to use it all before it needs to be donated back to the compost pile. Salad is a fine way to consume fresh veggies as long as you, or your friends, will eat the salad. šŸ™‚ This simple, lettuce free, salad comes together quickly and went well with grilled chicken.

[Cucumber Salad]


Cucumber Salad
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes plus resting time

Ingredients:

  • 3 cucumbers, about 1 1/2″ in diameter and 6-8″ long
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned and then chopped very fine
  • 1/4 cup ginger beer
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp. (or a big pinch) cumin seeds
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Trim the ends off the cucumber. Peel “stripes” from the skin of each cucumber. Slice cucumbers into 3/8″ pieces and transfer to the bowl of a resealable container along with the red pepper.
  2. Add the seeds to a small dry skillet and heat over medium low until fragrant. Stir or jiggle the pan frequently to prevent burning. When spices are fragrant transfer to a small mortal & pestle and grind fine.
  3. Combine the ground spices, ginger beer, vinegar and paprika in a 1 cup measure. Stir until well combined and pour over the cucumbers and peppers. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and 10 grinds of pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables with the spice mixture/dressing.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours. Give it a gentle shake every 30 minutes to recoat the vegetables.
  5. Taste for salt/pepper; adjust as needed and serve.

Notes:
I used ginger beer in this on a whim. I was drinking a Maine Root Ginger Brew while prepping the veggies for this salad. The ginger brew has a strong ginger taste and I thought it might work in a quick dressing/marinade for this cuke salad. The ginger didn’t really come through however I’m happy with the resulting salad.

Ted felt the cumin was bit heavy handed in flavor so I might leave that out next time. Some fresh herbs, like parsley or cilantro, might have been nice in its place.

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