A spicy cucumber salad, just in time for a wonderful, summer-on-the-balcony lunch.
Generally cucumber is treated like an ordinary vegetable, when a second or two of attention turns it into something spectacular.
Cucumber, Herbs and Poppy Seed Salad
Source : inspired by Ottolenghi, The Cookbook
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 0 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
6 small or Lebanese Cucumbers
2 mild red chillies, seeded and sliced thinly
a small handful of herbs – coriander (cilantro), italian parsley, basil, mint
60ml rice vinegar or a really good white wine vinegar
125ml sunflower or walnut oil
2 – 3 Tblspn poppy seeds
2 Tblspn caster sugar or agave nectar
sea salt and some white pepper
Slice the cucumber on an angle to get slices that are 3 – 4 cm long. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl, gently massaging all of the flavours into the cucumber. The taste of the salad should be sharp and sweet – taste and adjust the sugar, salt and vinegar to suit the quality of the cucumbers.
Serve immediately. If you make it ahead of time, leave the adjustment of the flavours until the last minute. Drain off any juice that has accumulated in the salad, mix again and adjust flavour.
I like to serve it with chopsticks – Japanese rather than Chinese, they are more delicate – prior to serving a main dish.