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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!
This year's garden produced an abundance of tomatoes and cucumbers. Friends and neighbors alike were able to benefit from the yield from my garden this year. The tomatoes are relatively easy to process and store for future use. I have dried them and canned them, made tomato sauce and still have more than I can possibly use.
The cucumbers, however, are best eaten fresh. After researching many recipes that include cucumbers, I came upon this nice little gem for a cucumber salad that I modified to suit my own taste. It literally takes only minutes to prepare and is an excellent addition to a meal. Try it and you won't be disappointed.
Now, on to the recipe! Be well, and good eating!
This recipe goes very well with Japanese cuisine, but also fits in with other types of cuisine. This salad is deceivingly rich and tasty given its simplicity. Select a fresh cucumber for this recipe. Also, select roasted sesame oil which is much darker and flavorful than the lighter sesame oil. This will make a big difference in the final product. I would not recommend substituting any other type of oil unless it happens to be a very flavorful oil.
1 cucumber, seeded, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp. sesame seeds
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar (white vinegar may be substituted)
1 Tbsp. sugar (or 2 tsp. honey)
1 tsp. roasted sesame oil
pinch of sea salt (optional)
Butter lettuce leaves
1 tomato, sliced (optional)
1/4 carrot, grated (optional)
Prepare the cucumber by slicing lengthwise and scooping the seeds out with a spoon. Peel the cucumber and slice thinly (you can use a knife, mandolin or grater for this). Toss briefly so that the slices are not all stuck together.
In a small bowl, mix the rice vinegar, sugar (or honey) and roasted sesame oil. A little salt may also be added to this simple vinegar and oil dressing.
To plate, arrange 3 or 4 butter lettuce leaves on a small salad dishes or bowls to caress the cucumber slices. In the center of the lettuce place a serving of the sliced cucumber. Drizzle each salad with a teaspoon or two of the dressing or serve the dressing at the table. A little of this dressing goes a long way as it is deceptively rich. Finally, garnish the salad with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
Optional plating variations can include a slice of tomato under the cucumbers, a little freshly ground pepper, or a little grated carrot on the top for additional color. Enjoy!