Simple, versatile, and always delicious. Best, of course, with not-oversized cucumbers in season, but the small, thin “Persian” cucumbers (usually sold in packs of four or six, and grown in Canada) or long, wrapped “English” cucumbers are good substitutes in winter, as are Kirbys, often used for pickling.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 30 Minutes
- 1½ pounds cucumbers
- ¼ cup good-quality vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- If you’re using skinny Persian or English cucumbers, just slice them and proceed to Step 2. If you’re using conventional supermarket cucumbers, peel them. Cut in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut them crosswise into thin slices, sprinkle with salt, put in a colander, and let drain over a bowl or in the sink for about an hour, until you can see moisture beading on the surface. Rinse, drain, and spin or pat dry. (If you want super-crunchy cucumbers, wring dry in a kitchen towel.)
- Whisk together the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the cucumbers and toss until coated with dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with the cilantro and serve right away. Or chill for up to 2 hours, then garnish with the cilantro and serve cold. CUCUMBER SALAD, KOREAN STYLE
- More assertive: Replace 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil with sesame oil. Add ½ teaspoon or more minced fresh chile (like serrano, jalapeño, or Thai) and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Along with the cilantro, garnish with 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (see page 299). CUCUMBER SALAD WITH SOUR CREAM OR YOGURT
- For the dressing, in Step 2 whisk together ½ cup sour cream or yogurt, or a combination, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup chopped fresh dill or parsley, or more to taste, pinch cayenne (optional), and pepper to taste. If you like, you can amp the salad up by adding ½ cup each chopped seeded tomato and red or yellow bell pepper with the cucumbers.