Cucumber and Yogurt Salad Recipe
I'm still working on using the cucumbers from our garden. I know my husband Lulu spent a lot of time planting all the vegetables so I try my best to make flavorful dishes using the results of his hard labor.
Today I used Marketmore cucumbers and served them as a first course. The dish was composed of seeded, sliced cucumbers, finely chopped pickled grape leaves and diced red bell peppers. I tied the flavors of the salad together with a dressing made with yogurt, mustard and olive oil.
I understand that the process of planting, watering and caring for the vegetables requires a lot of work, so I definitely feel responsible for creating unique dishes that showcase the quality of the ingredients. Love you Lulu! Don't we make a great team?
Yields: 6 servings5 cucumbers
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
½ white onion , chopped
2½ cups plain yogurt
3 cloves pickled garlic, finely minced
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
4 tablespoons red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
4 small pickled grape vine leaves
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 lime, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
Prepping the pickled grape leaves: Rinse the grape leaves under cold running water. Discard the stems and finely chop.
Prepping the cucumbers: Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Layer a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet, and place the cucumbers on top. Sprinkle with salt on both sides and let sit for 1 hour. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. Cut the cucumbers into ¼ to ½-inch thick slices. Set aside.
For the yogurt dressing:
Place the garlic, honey, mustard and lime juice in a bowl. Let stand until the yogurt in ready.
In a large colander, place the yogurt in a double-layered cheese cloth. Wrap the yogurt in the cloth. Make a knot at the tip and suspend it over the colander using chopsticks. The colander is not essential but is quite convenient; if the knot breaks, you can gather the yogurt again in the cheese cloth without starting over. Place a larger bowl underneath the colander to collect the whey (yogurt liquid). Let it sit for a couple of hours. Drain as much liquid as possible.
Carefully unwrap the yogurt and transfer to a bowl. Add the garlic mixture and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Assembly time: Combine the cucumbers, bell peppers, grape leaves and parsley. Toss well. Check seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. When you're ready to serve, add the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper.
If you're using Marketmore cucumbers (they're very easy to grow), be sure to peel the cucumbers completely as the spiky skin, using a vegetable peeler. In general, even if you use the small variety (such as Persian or Mediterranean cucumbers), it's recommended to peel them entirely as the cucumber skin is waxed to seal in moisture for longer shelf life at the market.
If you like the salad to be spicy, you can add 1 tablespoon of chopped Serrano chile to the yogurt sauce.
I used Fage brand yogurt.
I buy pickled grape vine leaves at my local Middle Eastern market. If you live in the Bay Area, check out the Rose Market -1060 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94040. If you can't find grape leaves, you could use boiled cabbage instead.
Published By: on June 27, 2012.