This is a pretty summery dish but screw it, there was a cucumber in our fridge that needed to be used before it started getting gross. Smashed cucumber salad is one of my favourite ways to eat cukes, other than chilled and slightly salted (for when I’m really lazy) after I do a workout. I follow basically this recipe that I found here.
You will need:
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cucumbers
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, plus more for cucumbers
- 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
- Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- Small handful whole cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
- 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
I like using a chef’s knife or whatever you have that’s closest to one. You want a wider blade for the smashing of the cucumber in a later step.
- Cut the cucumber into pieces about 3 inches long
2. Cut those pieces in half lengthwise.
3. Take the flat side of your knife and use it to smash the cucumber pieces (skin up) until the skin cracks and the seeds squish out a bit. This helps the cucumber absorb the seasoning better.
4. Cut the smashed cucumber into bite sized pieces.
5. Throw all the pieces into a mixing bowl. Add a healthy pinch of salt and sugar. Mix it all up and let it hang out. The recipe says: “Place a plastic bag filled with ice on top of the cucumbers to serve as a weight and place the strainer over a bowl. Let drain 15 to 30 minutes on the counter, or in the refrigerator until ready to serve, up to 4 hours.” But I’m lazy and I always skip this step because I want my cucumbers faster than that.
6. While the cucumber is chilling, mince your garlic and put that into another mixing bowl.
7. Add the salt and sugar.
8. Also add the rice vinegar.
9. Okay and also add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Put it all together (and shake it all around – that’s what it’s all about!).
10. Once the cucumbers are done chilling, toss the seasoning onto them and mix.
11. Okay, now you can eat your delicious cucumbers. They should be eaten fresh. Top with the sesame seeds if that’s what you’re into.