Besides pairing cucumbers with dips, or adding them in slices to lettuce salads, how can you use them as a main ingredient?
I found the answer to this question in the cuisine of Iran (2,000 years ago, Iran was called Persia). Inspired by the amazing foods of my Persian friends and the restaurants they’ve introduced me to, I’ve made Persian Cucumber Salad.
This delicious salad has a mélange of red onion, red bell pepper, fresh dill, olive oil, lime juice and, the star of the show – Persian cucumbers. Persian cukes are smaller than the standard ones, but more flavorful. Enjoy this fresh and healthy salad all summer!
Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
1 to 1-1/4 pounds Persian cucumbers, about 5 to 6 count (available in Middle Eastern markets)
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, set in cold water for 1 minute and drained
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill weed
Juice of 1 lime
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
Salt and ground, black pepper, to taste
1. Working on a cutting board, remove and discard tips of cucumbers.
2. Peel cucumbers and rinse them under cold, running water.
3. Using paper towels, pat dry the cucumbers and transfer them to cutting board.
4. Cut cucumbers in half, lengthwise.
5. Cut each cucumber piece in half again, lengthwise.
6. Chop cucumbers in 1/2-inch pieces and transfer them to a large glass or porcelain bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients and toss.
7. Taste and adjust seasonings (olive oil, salt and pepper).
Serve Persian Cucumber Salad immediately with Lavosh or Pita breads* as an appetizer or as a side dish to meat, poultry or fish.
Note: *Lavosh is a flatbread typically served in Persian cuisine and is sold in large, rectangular sheets. Pita bread is served in Middle Eastern cuisine (various countries). It is flat, round and when cut in half Pita bread can be opened like a pocket and filled like a sandwich.
Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real.