It’s easy to be optimistic when it’s sunny and warm out, even for a curmudgeon like me. The stuff keeping me on edge last week seems somehow manageable, even if my circumstances haven’t changed.
Yep, it’s all warm sunshine and singing birds and the distant sound of lawnmowers and the clinking of ice cubes and… barbecue smoke. Mmmmm, yes. That paints a sensory picture, doesn’t it?
Nothing in this recipe is cooked over an open flame so you’re probably wondering why I’m blethering on about barbecuing. Trust me, there is a method to my madness.
This salad is The Side to all your grilled delights. It is the perfect foil, the ultimate compliment to anything with touched by smoke and char.
It’s a deadly delicious palette cleanser: refreshing cucumber, marinated in a light (very light, no oil in this entire recipe), tangy vinaigrette dotted with ginger. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami, perfectly balanced. Bite of rich, smoky grilled goodness, bite of salad- happy mouth, happy belly.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’re probably a little dismayed to see this recipe features fish sauce. Never fear, we have a fix for that! The Kitchn has this wonderful vegan fish sauce recipe, which I have used to great success so vegetarians/vegans, dive on in!
|Thai Cucumber Salad|| |
- 2 long English cucumbers, sliced thinly into half moons
- ½ cup thinly sliced white onion
- ~ Tbsp salt
- ⅔ cup water
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce*
- 1 carrot, grated or julienned
- 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 red jalapeno peppers, seeded, de-veined and finely chopped (optional)
- ⅛ cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- Thai basil, optional garnish
- Lime wedges, optional garnish
- Arrange a layer of sliced cucumber and onion in a large dish and salt the top. Repeat with additional layer of cucumber/onion, salting each layer, until all the cucumber and onion are in the dish. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- In a small saucepan, bring the water and vinegar to a boil. Remove from heat and add sugar, stirring until it is completely dissolved. Let cool slightly then add garlic, ginger, fish sauce and lime juice.
- Rinse the cucumber/onion mixture in water and thoroughly pat dry. In a large bowl, stir together cucumber, onion, carrot, jalapeno (if using) and cilantro. Pour vinegar mixture overtop and mix to coat. Top with chopped peanuts and garnish with thai basil and lime wedges.