Can you bring the heat while remaining cool as a cuke?
You will with this easy, spicy, refreshing summer salad. When I was a kid, my dad would take cucumbers from our garden, slice them and put them in a jar with nothing but apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. The longer they sat, the better they were. A cool and crunchy treat on a hot summer day. Well this is a wink and a nod to that salad. Try using a variety of cucumbers. I’ve added English hothouse and Persian cucumbers to the mix. Seasoned rice vinegar gives it spicier tang. And the hot pepper flakes give this cucumber salad as much heat as you’d like to bring!
Naturally, this is one of those salads that gets better as it sits. But you can certainly whip it up at the last minute, to add a cool and crunchy side to any meal.
I’ve used cucumbers from my local farm market as well as English hothouse cucumbers and some smaller Persian cucumbers. Sliced spring onions add to the spice. White sesame seeds provide some extra crunch. But those hot red pepper flakes give this chilly summer salad a little (or a lot) of warmth.
This is such an easy side salad. Make it in the morning and it will be very flavorful in time for dinner.
And some things never change. I found myself doing exactly what I did in my youth. When the cukes are gone, I’d drink the vinegar right out of the jar! I love it that much and I hope you will, too!
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt
- 4-6 cucumbers (I used 1 large slicing cucumber, 1 large English cucumber and 4 small Persian cucumbers)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar
- ¾ cup of seasoned rice vinegar
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons red chile flakes (more or less to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon of white sesame seeds
- 6 spring onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- I used a mandolin to evenly and thinly slice all of the cucumbers. Toss the cucumbers in a large bowl with the sugar and salt. Let them rest for 30 minutes before transferring them to a colander for a good rinse. Drain them and then press them with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. Return them to your large bowl.
- In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, garlic, chile flakes and sesame seeds. Pour this over your cucumbers and toss to coat.
- Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, pour the cucumbers onto your serving dish and sprinkle with the spring onions. Garnish with a pinch more of sesame seed and red pepper flakes.
You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local and that’s kind of the same thing. Support your local farmers!