English cucumbers often are sold wrapped in plastic. Keep the plastic on while you smash, so that cucumber innards don’t go flying everywhere. If your cukes are not sold that way, wrap each in plastic or put them in a zip-top bag before you bang on them.
Once you’ve tossed the cucumber chunks in salt and sugar, let them rest for 30 minutes. An hour is even better, to coax out water and impart more flavor into the vegetable.
When it’s time to mix everything together, shredded carrot will add some color. Cilantro adds bright freshness. After you add the vinaigrette, taste and tweak to your liking. I slicked one batch with a drizzle of chili oil and served it as a side with grilled meat and steamed rice. Eating it was almost as satisfying as smashing cucumbers.
Eating this salad is almost as satisfying as smashing the cucumbers for it. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM
Credit: Ligaya Figueras
Credit: Ligaya Figueras
Smashed Cucumber Salad
- 2 pounds thin-skinned cucumbers (such as English or Persian)
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed to a near-paste
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or black vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 carrot, peeled and shredded (optional)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Chile oil (optional)
- If the cucumbers are not sold wrapped in plastic, wrap them in plastic or place them in a zip-top bag. Place the cucumbers on a cutting board and pound them using a meat tenderizer, rubber mallet, rolling pin, the side of a jar of canned food or other object until the skin breaks open and the cucumbers are flattened. Do not oversmash. Remove and discard the plastic.
- Trim and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers crosswise in half, then cut each half lengthwise. (If not using seedless cucumbers, cut off and discard the seeds, if desired.) Slice the halves lengthwise into spears, then rough-chop into 1- to 1½-inch bite-size pieces. Transfer to a colander placed over a bowl.
- Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the cucumbers, tossing well to combine. Refrigerate the cucumbers, still in the colander, with the bowl underneath to catch juices, for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: Combine the crushed garlic, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Whisk well.
- Remove the cucumbers from the refrigerator. Discard the liquid from the bowl. Wipe out the bowl and add the cucumbers. Add the shredded carrot, if using. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Add the toasted sesame seeds and toss again. Garnish with the cilantro, if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. If desired, finish with a drizzle of chile oil. Serves four.
Nutritional informationPer serving:
Per serving: 85 calories (percent of calories from fat, 52), 2 grams protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 5 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 584 milligrams sodium.
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