briny garlic cucumbers

I did this whole thing where I “made” a recipe for a side dish, a fresh one, a compliment to fatty mains or rich curries. It was briny and raw too. Simple to throw together and it would even taste better the next day. And it wasn’t until I triple-tested it, shot it and wrote it out here that I realized it’s very much like the side dish my mom served almost every single time she had guests over for dinner. Hers: a tomato salad, heavy with punchy raw onions, brought together with lots of acid (vinegar in her case). Mine: cucumber salad, fragrant and spicy with punchy raw garlic and lime juice. Pretty sure her salad influenced what I was after all along, though I didn’t realize it. I’m glad I came up with something a little different, despite the resemblance. Chilies are critical in her salad, which is also more delicate, best on day or or two as the tomato flesh practically collapses in the brine. The cucumbers are even better on day 3, retaining a little crunch and marinading in the garlic and rather than adding heat, it’s a reprieve from chili-laden sauces. Both balance out rich meals, and come together in minutes, so really, why choose? There’s room on the table for both of these small plates.

Get the recipe for my Mom’s tomato and green chili salad here.

Briny Garlic Cucumbers

2 English cucumbers, peeled
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cl garlic, minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1 whole scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
Kosher salt to taste

Quarter each cucumber lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice thinly crosswise on a bias. Add to a medium bowl with remaining ingredients. Mix well to coat the cucumber evenly and transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately as a condiment or side to spicy dishes or chill, covered, for up to three days.

Makes about 2 cups.