Monday, October 25, 2010

Cucumber Tomato Salad

I started making this a couple years ago after having a very similar 'House Salad,' of chopped tomato, cucumber and onion, from Reef's Kitchen. I love everything about this salad! The fresh crisp cucumber, sweet juicy tomato and nutty crunchy sesame seeds make it a fabulous Mediterranean and Asian salad at the same time. It's super easy to make, keeps wonderfully for days in the fridge and goes delightfully with just about anything.
Cucumber Tomato Salad

Serves 2-3 as a side dish.
2 ½ cup Cucumber, sliced ¼ inch thick, takes about 3 mini cucumbers
1 ¼ cup Ripe Tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tablespoon Garlic, finely minced (more or less depending on your love of fresh spicy garlic!)
1 teaspoon White Vinegar, I use distilled, but even better Rice Vinegar
Pinch of Pepper (or about 5 rotations from pepper mill)
Pinch of Salt (or about 2 rotations from salt mill)
¼ teaspoon Sugar
½ teaspoon Black Sesame Seeds
½ teaspoon Toasted White Sesame Seeds
1 scallion, chopped

Do it:
Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and toss evenly. Garnish with extra scallion and sesame seeds. Serve immediately or chilled. 
Fresh Garlic.  This one of the rare occasions where I actually mince the garlic, versus keeping them whole and just smashing them. If you are sensitive to raw garlic, use less or none. This is a pretty generous garlicky amount. Mince super fine.
Mini Cucumbers.  I love the crunch and size of mini cucumbers. The skin is thin and bumpy. No peeling required AND they are 'seedless' so you don't get excessive burping either! :)  Cut them into half circles, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Ripe Tomatoes.  Any type of tomato will do, just as long as they are plump, juicy and RIPE. Cut them into eighths for a clean bite-size uniform appearance.
In mixing bowl, toss everything evenly: cucumber, tomato, garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar, sesame seeds. Toss, mix!
Sesame Seeds.  Yes, they are teeny tiny, but a dash of black and white sesame seeds add a subtle but distinct flavor, dramatic texture and beautiful glittery appearance at plating.
The flavors settle in after a few hours and get pretty intense after a few days. For an extra kick, add crushed red peppers (aka pizza shaker peppers) or slices of fresh birds eye chili. Enjoy!
Listening now to soundtrack to 'Walk the Line'....Joaquin Phoenix's voice to Johnny Cash songs is incredibly irresistible.

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