Over the past year, my definition of salads has gone through a metamorphosis. I’m a purist, and I’ll happily consume tomatoes & lettuce dressed with olive oil, lemon or a good balsamic, and salt. But most of us stand still at that dead end definition. Behind that door lies a universe of possibility.
I am working on a series of posts that will explain how to use what you have to cook in a basic, delicious manner, and salads will be one of the first posts. But I wanted to address this salad first, because lately, tomatoes and lettuce have been absent from my salads and I haven’t missed them one bit. Don’t limit your thinking to the usual ingredients. Use what you have, chop it well, dress it well, add some texture (like seeds), and some different oils/vinegars, and you will have yourself an unusual showstopper.
Super crunchy cucumber, radish, and carrot salad
Inspired by my always-inspiration, Yotam Ottolenghi
Note: I love this salad because of the crunchy texture. It has some unusual add-ons like poppy seeds and fennel seeds. While unconventional, you will be pleasantly surprised.
3 small cucumbers, sliced thin
3 large carrots, peeled, sliced thin
½ pound radishes, sliced thin or into matchsticks
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1½ tablespoons fennel seeds, toasted
1 chili, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pistachio or walnut oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup mint, shredded
In a large bowl, mix the cucumber, carrots, radishes, vinegar, and a teaspoon of salt. Using your hands, massage the mixture well for a solid minute. We want to extract some of the moisture out of the vegetables. Stick the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Strain the vegetables, toss out the accumulated juices, and return them to the bowl. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, poppy seeds, fennel seeds and chili. Use your hands again to mix the salad well.
Just before you serve, add the pistachio and olive oils, parsley and mint. Season to taste again with salt.
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