It’s hard to beat an ice cold cucumber salad on a hot day. Unfortunately, they can be find very one dimensional at times. This light but flavor-rich salad was inspired by Deborah Madison’s recipe for Cucumber Salad with Chile and Peanuts from her book Local Flavors. It’s a bit fussier than your standard cucumber salad, but well worth the extra five minutes it will take you to mince some ginger and zest your lime. —Bob Vivant
large cucumber, thinly sliced
large or a few small radishes, cut into matchsticks
fresh hot red chile pepper, diced (Remove the seeds for a milder salad.)
clove garlic, finely minced
fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
lime, zest and juice
black sesame seeds
salted and roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Fresh Thai basil, mint, or cilantro or a combination of them, chopped
Place the cucumber slices, radishes, and chile pepper in a large bowl, toss to mix.
In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, ginger, lime zest and juice, rice vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil, and honey. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the cucumbers and toss until thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to deepen.
Before serving add the sesame seeds, peanuts, and herbs and toss again.