Earlier this month, I celebrated my 40th birthday. In the months leading up to it, my husband and local bestie asked me more than once “What do you want to do for your 40th?”. My reply was often “Nothing. Okay fine I want to go to the French Laundry”. But when I thought really hard about it, I realized that for my 40th birthday, I wanted to go home.
And hell yes I still wanted to go to the French Laundry. Which I did, yesterday. But this post isn’t about that.
This post is about tasty cucumber salad, but it’s also about home.
Home, mostly, is San Francisco. It’s been my home for 10 years and while the future rich-as-hell Me might have homes all over the world, Normal Me will probably always live here. But home used to be the East Coast, and it’s where most of my family and old friends are. So when thinking about a 40th birthday party here in SF with none of those people in attendance, it just didn’t feel right.
So I booked a trip. And the morning that we woke up in Connecticut, my mom had already been up smoking ribs for dinner that night. That lady doesn’t f*** around. To go with the ribs, she made this oh-so refreshing cucumber salad that had paper thin cucumbers and Asian flavors. I thought about recreating it as soon as I took my first bite.
A few days after getting back from our trip East, I’m making ribs and cucumber salad. I went with my Char Siu Style Ribs, since I don’t have the smoking capabilities of the Big Green Egg (but would love one if you’re stumped on a birthday gift ;)) and this cucumber salad was perhaps the most perfect pairing ever.
This sesame cucumber salad is perfect with just about anything you grill, like this Grilled Chicken, or with Korean Beef Lettuce Cups, and people will love you if you bring it to a BBQ this summer.Print
Sesame Cucumber Salad
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Side Dish
- Cuisine: Chinese
- 1 large English cucumber
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 scallions, (thinly sliced)
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- Slice the cucumber as thinly as possible, preferably using a mandoline.
- In a colander, toss the sliced cucumber with the salt and place in the sink or over a bowl. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce, scallions, and cilantro in a medium bowl.
- After 30 minutes, transfer the cucumbers to the bowl with the dressing- Use your hands to do this, squeezing and discarding any extra liquid from the cucumbers as you go.
- Mix the cucumbers into the dressing. If serving right away, stir in the sesame seeds. If not, refrigerate and stir in the sesame seeds just before serving*
- Season to taste with additional salt, fish sauce, or sesame oil.
*This salad is good right away, but even better after being refrigerated for several hours or overnight. Either way, strain excess liquid before stirring in the sesame seeds.
All of the links on zenbelly.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by Zenbelly.
Is the Big Green Egg a charcoal grill? Anyway, regardless…you could soak some wood chips, wrap in foil, poke holes, and put yer meat on indirect heat and voilee: a sorta smoker. I haven’t tried this but I’m gonna! Btw, don’t love cukes but this looks yummy!
Thanks! The dressing would be good on so many salads if you want to skip the cukes. The big green egg is charcoal, but kind of in a magical way where it holds the heat for way longer and makes everything taste to good. I DO have a smoker box for my gas grill, and never think to use it! I should really do something about that. Love the DIY version!
Can’t take credit for the smoker…stole it from Michael Symon. Happy Birthday!!!!
Happy belated Chef Simone; your BD sounds like it was great! I’m looking forward to your post about the French Laundry and whether it exceeded, met or fell short of your expectations.
Thanks, Susan! It was a great birthday 🙂 I don’t plan on doing a blog post about TFL, but posted about it on instagram a little bit. I didn’t take many photos because I wanted to just enjoy the meal and really be there for it. It was incredible, every bite, from beginning to end. I guess it exceeded my expectations, but they were already pretty high based on everything I’ve heard, so it exceeded but didn’t surprise, if that makes sense. I definitely enjoyed checking it off my bucket list!
Yay, so glad that you loved it. Totally agree with you about the photo thing. When you’re focussed on photos it’s easy to miss the now experience. Just went through that in France. On one hand I felt like I didn’t take enough photos, but on the other I wish that I’d taken less and observed and absorbed more. Your birthday celebration at home in CT sounds every bit as wonderful. I bought some cukes at the FM today with your salad in mind and I finally get to use those black sesame seeds from Preston Vineyards that I’ve been saving.
BTW, had the most amazing crepes in Paris at Cafe Breizh (both in Saint-Germain and Marais — BTW he also has cafes in Japan and NYC). The chef/owner is from Brittany and by all accounts, these are the most authentic outside of Brittany. Everything at CB (including the crepes and galettes) are gluten free and Bio (organic). The crepes are made with only buckwheat from Brittany and water. They also serve various hard ciders (apple, pear, etc) and real buttermilk (relish!) also all from Brittany. Their buckwheat is very special and different than what we have in the US. I brought home a 2 lb bag to do some experimenting. They use big electric crepe griddles there, but I’ll just be using my humble crepe pan.
Aloha: Just made this salad….waiting the 30 minutes for salt to do its job. I added three red radish to the salad sliced thin on the mandolin. Also 1/2 teaspoon of pink peppercorns and a pinch of chili flakes. Felt it needed color. And I love spicy. Now in Fridge to marinate. Used the salad spinner to remove water from cucumbers. Tasty. Will be much better in several hours.
Making Marcella Beans (from http://www.RanchoGordo.com) with smoked turkey tail, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and green pepper corns to go with the salad. Just need cornbread muffins to go with the salad and beans for tonight. YUM!!! Blessings, Anne
Sounds like a great dinner! I love your additions. Thanks for the nice note! 🙂
Did your mom use these same ingredients? I ask because some of your ingredients I try to avoid due to histamine intolerance, and I’m curious how your mom made it vs. your version. Thanks!
I don’t remember exactly, but I’m guessing she used tamari instead of coconut aminos, and added sugar to the salt. Which ingredients specifically in this recipe do you avoid?
If my histamine is low, I can get away with eating a little more histamine. Any fermented food or food that has sat around has higher histamine. Bottled sauces are suspect. I have to do non-raw vinegar and avoid fish sauce.