Cucumbers are ripening on farms and in gardens all over the continent right now. They’re one of those mild vegetables often served along with spicier stuff to balance it out. This time, I decided, I was going to team them up with lots of spicy stuff, plus one or two other mild vegetables. (You guessed it, we’ve still got lots of celery.)
Though this salad involves a lot of chopping, once you’ve got that done it’s quick and easy. It also looks elegant, with its different shades of red and green. You can add to the elegance by leaving the skin on the cucumber (though at our house, it’s always peeled off by popular request) and maybe running a fork down the sides to create decorative lines. But first, make sure the skin hasn’t been waxed.
If you’ve got something else you’d like to add, go ahead. Tomatoes would be good. Shrimp, tuna, or chilled garbanzos would make it into the better part of a light meal — just warm up some bread to go with it.
Though cucumbers are best eaten raw, you can also cook them — lightly. I haven’t tried this, but they can be coated in flour and fried in oil. Almost anything tastes good that way.
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 avocado
- 2 medium radishes
- 1 large stalk celery
- 1 Tb. diced sweet red pepper
- 1 Tb. finely chopped red onion
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. white sugar
- 2 Tb. mayonnaise
- 1 Tb. barbecue sauce
- Green onion top for garnish
- Lettuce leaves, optional
- Wash, trim, and peel cucumber and cut into two long halves.
- Scoop out the seeds.
- Sprinkle cucumber halves with the paprika — or toss in a plastic bag with it. A silicon brush also helps spread it evenly.
- Cut the halves into ¼- inch slices.
- Cut avocado into small chunks, about the size of the cucumber slices.
- Wash and trim the radishes, and cut them into chunks smaller than the cucumber and avocado — about 8 to 10 chunks for each radish.
- Wash and trim celery and cut it into ¼-inch slices.
- Put everything into a large bowl and add the red pepper and red onion.
- Sprinkle with the salt and sugar.
- Move the bowl gently to mix everything.
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and barbecue sauce using a fork.
- Add to the bowl of vegetables and mix gently with a spoon.
- Serve (over lettuce leaves if you want), garnished with green onion.