Cucumber

Chilled Cucumber Soup, Persian-Style

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup walnut hearts, toasted and finely chopped

  • 2 cups plain yogurt (not Greek yogurt)

  • 1 1/2 cup ice water

  • 1/2 to 3/4 of a seedless English cucumber, finely chopped (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped), plus a few cucumber slices for serving

  • 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, dill, mint)

  • 1/2 cup gold raisins

  • Salt

  • 3/4 tsp sumac, more for later (optional)

PREPARATION:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt and iced water. Stir in finely chopped cucumbers, herbs, raisins, and toasted walnuts. Season with salt and sumac. Cover and chill for about one hour.

  2. When ready, divide chilled cucumber soup into four serving bowls. Sprinkle more sumac on top and add a few cucumber slices to each bowl. Enjoy with your favorite toasted bread or pita.

Sesame Cucumber Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium sized cucumbers (about 1 lb total)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons toasted (dark) sesame oil

  • 2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

  • 6 basil leaves, thinly sliced (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)

PREPARATION:

  1. Peel the cucumbers. Cut them into quarters, lengthwise. (If the seeds are bitter, scrape out the seeds and discard.) Cut the cucumbers again, crosswise, into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

  2. Place cucumbers into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Toss with sesame oil, seasoned rice vinegar, basil (if using), and chili flakes. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if using.

Korean Melon & Prosciutto Salad

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Korean melon, peeled, cubed

  • 1 red onion, small, halved, sliced thinly

  • 1 small pickling, Persian, or English cucumber (no wax), halved lengthwise, sliced thin crosswise

  • 1 bunch basil, de-stemmed, leaves chopped small

  • 1 medium lime, juiced

  • 1 package prosciutto, cut in bite-sized pieces

  • balsamic vinegar

  • cracked black pepper & kosher salt

  • Optional: shishito peppers, de-stemmed, minced

PREPARATION:

  1. Toss the melon, onion, cucumber, basil, and shishito peppers (if using) in a large bowl.

  2. Juice lime over the bowl. Toss lightly. Season to taste with pepper and salt.

  3. Fold in prosciutto. Cover and chill for 15 minutes or more.

  4. Remove from the refrigerator and toss again.

  5. Plate individually. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over salad in a light stream.

Crisp Cucumber Salsa

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups finely chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

  • 4-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

  • Tortilla chips

PREPARATION:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt.

  2. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately with chips.

Pan-Seared Eggplant with Buttermilk Dressing

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium shallot, chopped, divided

  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk, plain yogurt, or crème fraîche

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped chives, divided

  • 12 ounces Japanese eggplant (about 2 small), halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise on a diagonal 1/4-inch thick

  • 2 Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise on a diagonal

  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves with tender stems

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Add half of shallot and cook, stirring often, until tender and slightly charred and crisp around the edges, about 5 minutes; season with salt. Remove skillet from heat.

  2. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, mustard, honey, and several grinds of pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Scrape in charred shallot; reserve skillet. Add 3 Tbsp. oil and 2 Tbsp. chives and mix well. Season dressing with salt.

  3. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in reserved skillet over medium-high. Add half of eggplant slices and arrange in a single layer; season lightly with salt. Cook, without moving, until browned underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn; cook on second side until browned and tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to skillet and repeat with remaining eggplant slices.

  4. Let eggplant cool slightly, then add cucumbers, parsley, lemon juice, half of lemon zest, and 1 Tbsp. chives to bowl. Toss well; season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in avocado.

  5. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with several spoonfuls of dressing (you don’t need to use all of it). Top with remaining lemon zest, shallot, and 1 Tbsp. chives.