Had everything gone according to plan, I’d probably be telling you that I served this cucumber salad to a few close friends at low-key Friday night dinner. That we ate szechuan roasted chicken, white rice, and this cucumber salad with plenty of garlic and ginger. That we stayed up late, drinking wine and telling funny stories. That a couple people asked for the recipe for this salad, and so here I am today, sharing it as asked.
What actually happened: the roast chicken was in the oven, watercress and pea shoots were awaiting a splash of soy vinaigrette, rice was on the stove, and I was standing over the sink, eating every last slice of cucumber right out of the mixing bowl. By the time guests came over, the salad had been reduced to a small puddle of dressing. Whoops.
Let’s make it right: here’s the recipe for the salad I polished off alone. You should exercise slightly more self-control when you encounter the perfect balance of sweet, salty, spicy, and tangy flavors in the dressing. Save some for the others, will ya?
Cucumber Salad with Garlic and Ginger
Adapted from – where else? – Plenty
Serves 4. Sometimes.
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons neutral oil (I used safflower)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced and chopped into short pieces
1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon Maldon or other flaky sea salt
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
8 mini cucumbers
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the red onion, mix well, and set aside to marinate for about 1 hour.
Mash the ginger and sea salt together in a mortar and pestle or with a knife on a wooden cutting board. Use the salt to crush the ginger. Add the garlic, and smash that, too. Transfer the whole mess into the dressing bowl, and stir to combine.
Slice the cucumbers into 1/4-inch slices and add to the dressing bowl. Toss to combine.
Salad will hold for a couple hours at room temperature or in the fridge. Sprinkle with cilantro and sesame seeds before serving.