I am not a big fan of cucumbers. I tend to pull them off a house salad. I do like pickled cucumbers though. This salad is sort of something in-between. Before using the cucumbers, they are salted and set to drain for at least 30 minutes. This removes excess water from the cucumbers, to keep them more crisp, and also gives them a partly-pickled taste. The vinegar and Fire Salt give the cucumbers a nice tang, the scallions and mint (or basil) add interesting flavor, and it is the kind of salad you could eat on its own as a side, or use as a condiment with something else.
This recipe is adapted from Joshua McFadden's "Cucumbers, Scallions, and Dried Chile" recipe, from his cookbook, 6 Seasons. If you don't know the 6 Seasons cookbook yet, get it - it's fabulous. It is organized by growing season and vegetable, so it's more or less in order of the vegetables you can find at the farmer's market throughout the season. I have to say, I was enamored with the way he cuts cucumbers on a strong bias, so I wanted to try this recipe. In my version, I use Fire Salt, which is a habanero and pink Himalayan salt, made by Lifegarden Farm in Lakeland, FL. The Fire Salt is perfect for this dish, just the right amount of heat and salt to balance the vinegar and cucumbers.
Cucumber Salad with Scallions and Fire Salt
1 pound cucumbers, seeded and sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 small handful of mint leaves, or basil
1/2 t Fire Salt, or dried chile flakes
3 T rice wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
Peel the cucumbers if the skins are too thick, otherwise just seed and slice on a bias. Toss the cucumbers with a teaspoon of salt, and allow to sit in a colander for at least 30 minutes to draw excess water out. Rinse the scallions, or soak in cold water for 20 minutes to take the sharpness out, then drain. Combine cucumbers, scallions, red onion, mint (or basil), Fire Salt (or chile flakes), and vinegar. Taste and adjust salt, spice or vinegar as needed. Add olive oil as desired, and mix again.
Adapted from Joshua McFadden’s recipe, “Cucumbers, Scallions, Mint and Dried Chiles,” from Six Seasons.
You can find Fire Salt at Lifegarden Farm's booth at the St. Pete Saturday Morning Market.