This is a nice little salad to have in your repertoire. It is the perfect summer salad, but joy of joys, since good cucumbers, a.k.a. English cucumbers are available year round, it’s a non-seasonal salad or side. It packs a nice kick of heat and garlic…Vampires beware! This is simple and easy to prepare, which makes it a winner. The Goddess has gotten so she appreciates “easy” more and more. I could say something about her being “easy”, but she might rain her wrath down on me, so we’ll just let it go…let it go…let it go. Anyway, you probably will have most of the ingredients in your pantry or fridge. I always have English cucumbers around, don’t you? You will need to begin a couple of hours ahead, but you can also make this ahead and I think it is almost better. You try it and let me know what you think. You’ll need to salt the cucumbers to pull out the excess water. You don’t technically have to do this, but the dressing will be pretty diluted. So do it, okay? Drain the liquid (see it there in the bottom of the picture?), but don’t rinse the cukes. You want that saltiness, because we aren’t adding any additional salt. Chop up the garlic quite fine; for this I prefer to chop, rather than put the garlic through a press. I’m not certain why, but I like the large bits of garlic.Also, these little Thai chiles are quite hot, so remove the seeds if you want less heat. I used one, left the seeds in and the salad was good and hot. You can substitute sriracha or crushed red pepper if you don’t have these. Good heat does come in small packages!
Sichuan Cucumber Salad
- 1 English cucumber (around 10-12-inches long)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves, mashed and diced
- 4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- 1-2 Thai chili peppers, cut diagonally into very thin slices*
- 1 teaspoon cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns (optional-but really good)*
- 1/2-1 teaspoon honey
*you can add some chili oil or Sichuan peppercorn oil to taste, instead of the chiles or the Sichuan pepper.
Cut the ends off of the cucumber; peel it, if you wish (I don’t). Cut the cucumber in half, lengthwise; cut the cucumber into about 1/4-inch slices. Place in a non-reactive bowl; sprinkle salt evenly over the cucumber slices. Toss and let stand in the fridge for around 1 to 2 hours. Gently squeeze the salt water out. In a bowl large enough to hold the salad, place the garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, chiles, cold water, Sichuan pepper and honey. Whisk to combine. Add the cucumber slices; toss. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until serving time.
Sichuan Cucumber Salad Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All rights reserved.
And that’s all there is to it! This is great to serve with salmon or any seafood. I served it with Soft-Shelled Crabs with Meyer Lemon-Brown Butter Sauce. It was a nice foil for the richness that is soft-shelled crabs. Divine and divinely spicy!