Cucumber

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.

 

Japanese Quick Pickles

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 thinly sliced Persian cucumber

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 scallions, sliced

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or Tamari for gluten free)

  • ½ teaspoon black sesame seeds

PREPARATION:

  1. Toss together cucumber slices and salt in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Drain and rinse.

  2. Toss together cucumbers, scallions, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame seeds in a medium bowl. 

 

Cucumber Dill Soup with Scallions

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 large cucumbers, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and seeded

  • 1 bunch scallions

  • 1 bunch dill, ends picked

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • Juice of 3 large lemons

  • 4 cups buttermilk

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground white pepper

  • Dash of Tabasco

PREPARATION:

  1. Thinly slice half of the cucumbers crosswise. Thinly slice half of the scallions crosswise. Set aside.

  2. Coarsely chop the remaining cucumbers and scallions and transfer to a large bowl. Add the dill, garlic, lemon juice, buttermilk, and yogurt, and give a good but gentle stir. Season with salt and pepper and puree in a blender until liquefied. (NOTE: You can use a food processor, but a blender will give a smoother, more pleasing result.)

  3. Transfer the soup to a large bowl and add the reserved sliced cucumbers and scallions. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.