There is something about cucumbers in the summertime. Such a simple little vegetable but it comes alive in the heat! This cucumber salad is both spicy and cool — like you!
Imagine my surprise this morning when I read a post listing the benefits of cucumbers. They are rife with vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, Folic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc. They are a great way to perk up in those mid-afternoon “hungry” hours, they help stave off headaches and hangovers and are a natural breath freshener. How about that?!
I simply love them because they give great crunch and coolness to salads and easily pick up other flavors. Adding spice or citrus can change them dramatically. An old-fashioned cucumber salad with dill and vinegar is one of the most refreshing dishes for summer. But today we are looking for big flavor! I love the small persian cukes that are at the farmer’s market right now. I’ve also seen them at Trader Joe’s. They are quite similar to English cucumbers but are smaller and I find that they have more flavor and I love that my market sells organic!
6 persian cucumbers
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of one lemon
splash of white wine or rice vinegar
handful of fresh cilantro
pinch of salt
dash of red pepper flakes
Wash the cucumbers and peel if there are blemishes. Cut on an angle and place in a large bowl. (Note: If using regular cucumbers, you may want to run your spoon down the middle to remove the seeds before slicing. They tend to be larger and more watery.)
Add the lemon juice, vinegar, salt and red pepper, and the garlic. Stir gently or use hands to marry the ingredients.
Wash the cilantro and pull off individual leaves and add. Give one gentle stir to incorporate.
The garlic and red pepper flakes add heat to the cooling cukes — but I promise this won’t be overly hot. The cukes make sure of that! The lemon and splash of vinegar give flavor to the quiet cukes. This would be a side dish for a summer lunch or dinner and just might become a favorite afternoon snack! Enjoy!