From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...All the salads I promised did get made, but I must admit there was a point when it looked like the clock would win the race. In the end, I got my act together and managed to deliver all five salads in a properly chilled and table ready state. I'll share a couple of them with you this week, and, while I know I'm late for Memorial Day, you might be able to use them for Father's Day or the 4th of July. This Asian-inspired cucumber salad is the easiest of the bunch to make and, like the others, is a new take on an old favorite. The recipe was developed Maria Helm Sinskey for Fine Cooking magazine, and the photo that was used to feature the salad caught my eye. I happen to love noisy food with crunch. That puts me firmly in the celery and cucumber camp and I'll always give new recipes for either, at least a cursory glance. When I scanned the ingredients list for this salad, it bypassed my mental if-list and moved directly to the go area of my brain. If you like pickled cucumber salads I know you will enjoy this Asian-take on an old Scandinavian favorite. My taster, who by the time this was ready to sample, had maxed-out on salad, began a play on the phrase "salad days" that somehow morphed into a racaous, nearly on-key, rendition of Golden Days from the operetta the Student Prince. While he's not quite ready for Carnegie Hall, his "salad days" reference sent me on an etymological search. Did you know that William Shakespeare, in the guise of Cleopatra, first coined the expression? Thanks to Snopes, I can also tell you the phrase now encompasses the young and foolish, as well as those who are at the peak of their abilities. As I fall into neither category, it is best I continue with the recipe for this lovely salad.
Cucumber, Basil and Peanut Salad ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Maria Helm Sinskey via Fine Cooking Magazine
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1-1/2 lb. cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, and sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick crescents
1/4 cup torn basil leaves (preferably Thai basil)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped salted peanuts
In a large serving bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice, and fish sauce. Add the cucumbers, basil, and peanuts to the vinaigrette, toss, and serve. Yield: 6 servings.
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