Here’s a great way to get creative with your bumper crop of cucumbers, and it takes only 10 minutes from garden to plate. I used a mandolin for maximum beauty and because I like to live on the edge. Thanks to Karen Solomon and her book Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It for this and so many other fun kitchen ideas.
1 large cucumber – sliced thin
1 small red onion-sliced thin
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup (or sugar or your sweetener of preference)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
Mix all ingredients together and let sit for 30 minutes. It can be refrigerated for 2 days.
I recently got back from a wonderful weekend of cooking at Peter Berley’s kitchen on the North Fork of Long Island. The theme of the weekend was cooking with local foods in the winter. This salad stood out to me because of its unusual combination of flavors that seemed to go perfectly together. I had a healthy serving of it with some homemade foccacia for lunch on Sunday at the workshop. I enjoyed it so much that I made it on my own again Sunday night for dinner with friends. Every last piece of parsley was eaten up. Prior to trying this salad, I was not a fan of the fennel. However, shaving fennel with a mandoline helps to keep the flavor mild and delicious. This salad is a light and fresh complement to any meal.
Thanks to Peter Berley for this recipe and many others throughout the weekend. Your creativity in the kitchen is very inspiring!
- 1/4 cup shaved or very thinly sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 very large or 2 medium fennel bulbs, shaved or very thinly sliced
- 1 cup loosely packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped celery leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- 24 pitted green, brine-cured olives, such as Picholine, sliced
- shaved parmesan to sprinkle on top (optional)
- Toss the onion with 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss the fennel, parsley, olives, and celery leaves with the olive oil and the onion and its liquid. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more olive oil or lemon if needed.
- Sprinkle with parmesan (optional) and serve.
I guess I’m on a pear kick, so here’s another one. This is a variation of this Epicurious recipe. It has great fall flavors and can be made in very little time. It is easy to double the recipe so you can make a lot for a big group.
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 8 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach leaves, stemmed if needed
- 2 firm but ripe Bosc pears (do not peel), quartered lengthwise, cored, and cut into long, thin slices
- To make the dressing, in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
- Place the onions in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand for 30 minutes. This crisps the onion and takes away the raw onion taste. Drain well and pat dry on paper towels.
- In a small bowl, toss the cranberries with 2 tablespoons of the dressing to soften them. Set aside for at least 20 minutes or until ready to serve the salad.
- To assemble the salad, place the spinach, onions, and pears in a large bowl. Give the remaining dressing a last-minute shake and pour over the salad. Toss to coat evenly. Arrange the salad in a large serving bowl or divide it evenly among 8 salad plates. Scatter the cranberries over the top(s). Serve immediately.