Summer is on its way out in much of the US, but here in southern California, it rages on. I’m so excited to be back in the kitchen (a new kitchen) after the tumult of packing, moving, leaving, mourning…but finally I feel settled in my new pad and I promise I will be blogging more regularly.
One of my favorite summer foods is the cucumber. I love cucumbers in gazpachos, Indian style, with a little lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and in this salad, where they gain a sharp, sweet pickled quality and are a wonderful accompaniment for a barbeque, burgers (veggie/not), or with a sandwich for lunch. This salad is from one of Ottolenghi’s cookbooks (Ottolenghi), which I turn to on a regular basis to shake things up. I love the way the ribbons of red chilli look in the bed of green.
It’s bright, punchy, and easy. Also, it keeps for a day or two, particularly if you separate the dressing from the cucumbers until you are ready to eat.
Prep time: 10 minutes
6 small cucumbers (Persian if you can find them – they are crunchy, seedless, and delicious)
1 red chile/red chili (depending on where in the world you are) – remove seeds if you don’t want the heat
3 tbsp. coarsely chopped cilantro
4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (substitute white wine vinegar if you prefer)
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. poppy seeds
2 tsp. superfine sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Wash then chop off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Cut them in half lengthwise and slice them at an angle. I like the pieces to be a bit chunky, about 1/2″ thick. Add the chopped chile/chili.
2. Mix together the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cucumbers and gently mix everything, making sure that the cucumbers are well-coated with the dressing.3. Taste – the cucumbers should be sharp and sweet, pickle-like.
4. Serve immediately, or if you are refrigerating, drain off some of the liquid and save it in a separate container. Then, just before serving, pour it over the cucumbers.
Happy eating! PS–I missed you.