Smashed Cucumber Salad

This recipe is one of my personal favorites, combining my love of delicious food with the childhood barbarian side of me that likes to smash things. If you like to cook, but also have a lot of repressed anger you'd like to get out, then this recipe is for you.

Inspired by an appetizer from the famed Mission Chinese in San Francisco, smashed cucumber salad blew me away the first time I tried it. Smashing the cucumber as opposed to slicing it brings out the flavor, and also helps it absorb the dressing. Draining the cucumbers first helps remove some of the natural bitterness, and also improves the texture. That, plus the right blend of flavors, makes this delicious science experiment a sensory experience like you've never had before.

The cooling of the cucumbers combined with the heat from the chile’s creates a multidimensional sensory experience that no other dish can compare to. This salad is not only crazy delicious, but also extremely easy, and fun to make. Crunchy, creamy, spicy, refreshing, and slightly mind bending, prepare to send your tastebuds on a journey.

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Smashed Cucumber Salad 

Servings: 2-4

Ingredients

1 large English cucumber

1 large pinch salt

3 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp chili-garlic sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

0.25 cup fresh torn cilantro

Black sesame seed garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Rinse cucumbers and pat dry. Trim the ends, then wrap in plastic. Firmly but gently smash with a heavy object like a rolling pin or frying pan, until cracked, slightly flattened, and broken up. Remove the plastic, and cut into bite size pieces.

  2. Place the cucumber pieces in a colander and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Mix until combined, then place the colander in a bowl, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes to let the cucumbers drain.

  3. Place cucumbers in a large bowl. Mix in tahini, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar, and toss to coat. Place on a plate or serving dish and garnish with black sesame seeds and top with fresh torn cilantro.

Ben Mastracco