I've been on a quest for a while to create a creamy dressing that my husband would enjoy. He has a strong aversion to the tanginess of sour cream and yogurt, products that are linked with cucumbers in many recipes. So silken tofu and coconut milk became the base for this recipe. —Amber Olson
Test Kitchen Notes
Amber Olsen makes a great creamy cucumber salad that is exactly what you need on a hot day. The cool mint plays off the chiles in the dressing very well. The crunchy, spicy peanuts are a terrific touch.
large, cold cucumber, washed, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick slices
Thai hot chile oil, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
rich, creamy cold coconut milk
fresh-squeezed lime juice
coarsely chopped mint
2-inch long Serrano pepper, coarsely chopped
large mint leaves, finely julienned
Place sliced cucumber in a colander over a bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and let sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or the duration it takes you to prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Put peanuts in a bowl and drizzle with the hot chile oil. Toss to coat all the nuts, then grind some nice sea salt over them. Toss again and set aside. Note: if you like really hot flavors, you could also sprinkle the nuts with a bit of cayenne to up the heat.
Put the tofu, coconut milk, lemongrass, lime juice, salt, sugar, chopped mint, and Serrano pepper in a food processor and process until all the ingredients are blended well, scrapping down sides as needed.
Turn the cucumbers out onto paper towels or a dish towel, blot with additional towels until the cukes are fairly dry of excess liquid. Put them in a bowl.
For one cucumber, or two servings, use 1/4 cup of the dressing, toss, then the finely julienned mint leaves and 1/4 cup of the spicy peanuts. Toss again. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later.
Some options: I think some unsweetened shredded coconut would be nice to add to this, and I can see some finely shredded carrot as a garnish on top of each serving.