Sunday, July 5

sichuan cucumber salad

it's too damn hot. certainly for cooking, as least. this was lovely and cool.

sichuan cucumber salad
from appetite for china
enough for 6-8 as an appetizer, or 2 as a light dinner

1 large or 2 medium cukes, peeled
1 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp peanut, almond or veg oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sichuan or thai pepper (ground, whole or flakes)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar
1-2 tsp chili garlic paste
2-3 small tomatoes or a few handfuls cherry tomatoes, sliced

de-seed halved cucumbers, scooping out center with a spoon. cut cucumbers into long strips, and then cube into 1-inch cubes. in a bowl, toss cukes with salt and rest for 10 minutes while water is drawn out. it won't make them soggy, but it will prevent the sauce from becoming sodden.

in a small pan over med-low heat, saute garlic and hot pepper until fragrant but not burnt. drain oil and let cool before adding to sauce of all remaining ingredients, combined (in a bowl large enough to add cucumbers as well).

in a strainer, lightly rinse excess salt from cucumbers and drain well, before adding to the sauce. add tomatoes, toss well and serve at room temp or cooler. we served it thai-style, over rice for a light, refreshing dinner. it may be made and refrigerated up to a day in advance.

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