I’ve been trying to find a recipe for a cucumber salad that is reminiscent of Asian cucumbers salads I’ve had at restaurants, and this is it. It’s not too sweet, and the sesame flavors really shine through. It also comes together easily. It comes from the Best American Side Dishes (America’s Test Kitchen), and makes great use of cucumbers, if you have a prolific plant. Note that you have to drain the cucumbers before making the salad, so start this dish at least 70 minutes before serving. Or, just start it at the beginning of your meal prep and let it rest however long you have time!
Sesame-Lemon Cucumber Salad
3 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, sliced, salted, and drained (See instructions below)
1 T. salt (used to drain the cucumbers)
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 T. juice from 1 lemon
2 T. toasted sesame oil
2 t. sugar
1/8 t. dried red pepper flakes plus more to taste
1 T. sesame seeds, toasted in a small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 4 minutes.
1. DRAIN CUCUMBERS: Peel each cucumber and halve lengthwise. Use a small spoon to remove the seeds and surrounding liquid from each cucumber half. Place the cucumber halves flat-side down on a work surface and slice them on the diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Toss the cucumbers and salt (1 T.) in a colander set in a bowl. Place a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag filled with water on top of the cucumbers to weigh them down and force out the liquid. Drain for at least an hour, and up to 3 hours.
2. Whisk all of the ingredients except the cucumbers in a medium bowl. Add the drained cucumbers; toss to coat. Serve chilled or at room temperature.