Ahhh, the crunchy, watery, hint-of-melon cucumber. Cucumbers are still very abundant right now, but most of the ones I have found at the markets are very large. Large cucumbers mean large, hard seeds.
I’m usually a very
lazy non-fussy cook. If I can get away with not peeling or de-seeding tomatoes, I will. And forget peeling potatoes. Mark one for nutrition, right? But the one thing I cannot stand is to chew hard seeds, so I usually look for small cucumber and zucchini. That’s asking a lot this time of year…when summer produce seems to be doggedly (and thankfully) vying for attention in the size category. The little bouts of rain have helped this along too. So I’m not complaining at all. But this recipe will require the extra step of removing the cucumber seeds if your cucumbers are as large as the ones I’ve been finding.
Cucumbers make me think of cilantro…two lovely cooling foods together. You won’t find cilantro at the farmer’s markets right now, though. While I strive to include local foods in each meal, I am by no means a purist. There are a few ingredients that I will buy year-round, in or out of season, and the first on my list is cilantro. (Lemons/limes come in second.)
I’m addicted, plain and simple, which is strange considering the history I have with cilantro. I have never been a picky eater, but I mean it when I say I used to hate cilantro. As in pick-every-leaf-out-of-tortilla-soup kind of hate. I remember telling my parents in middle school to please order me anything that is not made with cilantro at our favorite Mexican restaurant. Geez…the demands of a culinary inclined pre-teen. Anyway, somehow between the 1980s and now, cilantro has topped my number-one-can’t-live-without-ingredient.
1/2 cilantro leaves (or small handful)
1 large lime, juiced
Peel and slice the cucumbers lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, then slice into half-moons. Snip the cilantro with shears, or just chop. (Snipping prevents bruising.) Squeeze the entire lime over the salad. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Allow the flavors to blend.
Onions in any variety, diced very small, would be a good addition, for a different twist.