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Sesame Cucumber Relish

Be sure to chill this pretty green salad before serving. Part of its charm comes from the cool, juicy texture of the softened cucumber. The salad is a wonderful accompaniment to lemongrass beef satay (see related recipe at left).

Ingredients:

  • 4 English (hothouse) cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Scant 1 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 6 green onions

Directions:

Peel the cucumbers, leaving a few strips of peel if unwaxed. Cut them in half lengthwise and scrape out any seeds with the tip of a spoon. Thinly slice the cucumbers crosswise.

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, salt and sugar, and stir to distribute the salt and sugar evenly. Let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer the cucumbers to a colander and rinse and drain well, then squeeze out excess moisture with your hands. (The cucumbers will have become soft and pliable but will still be bright green.)

In a serving bowl, stir together the vinegar, garlic, chili flakes and sesame seeds. Add the cucumbers and toss to coat. Thinly slice the green onions and sprinkle them over the top. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours. At this point, the salad can be refrigerated for up to 1 day before serving. Serve cold. Serves 8 to 10.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Entertaining, by Brigit Binns (Gold Street Press, 2007).