Yesterday, friends and I planned a picnic at Hudson River Park in spite of the storm warnings—since it ain’t the weather report, it’s the weather opinion. We were hopeful that Mother Nature would spare us on what was finally a beautiful, dry day in the city. I coordinated the food that folks were bringing, but I’d yet to make a dish by 6pm (event start time) when I was back in my cafe, after Jackie’s Mad Dash, aka my usual Friday schedule. I figured the blackened sky and deluge that met my much prompter friends bought me a bit of time so I whipped up this zingy salad lightning-fast.
RECIPE: Lightning Cucumber Salad
Peel five whole cucumbers, slice lengthwise, seed and slice into 1/2” half rounds and put into a plastic container with a lid. Clean and finely slice two bunches of scallions and add to cucumbers. Sprinkle with about 1/2-1T of kosher salt (to degorge the veggies). Cover and set aside. In a 16oz container mix 1/4 c simple syrup with the juice of one lime, 1-2 T of sambal olek* (or your favorite fresh chili, chopped fine), 2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine, a small knob of fresh ginger grated, 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro) stems and leaves chopped rough, pickled daikon radish and carrots with vinegar**, chopped rough, and 1/2 c of canola oil. Shake it up and adjust taste to suit your own taste remembering that the cukes will absorb the heat. I like it quite spicy, sweet and tangy.
Once I got to the “picnic”, which moved indoors, I drained the cuke/scallion mix, tossed it with the dressing and topped it all with 1 cup of whole roasted, salted peanuts (these could have been chopped, but whole worked well).
SHOPPING NOTE: I purchased almost everything at the awesome Deluxe Food Market in Chinatown which I will post about at another time!
*A traditionally Indonesian crushed chili and vinegar paste.
**Deluxe sells these pickles already made and mixed in salty, sweet vinegar. You can also find it in many Asian markets in NYC. If it’s not available by you, substitute a julienne of fresh daikon and carrots (about 1 cup) and add them to the cuke/scallion mixture.
Deluxe Food Market 79 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013