“Coriander, cumin and red-pepper flakes bloom in a neutral oil, and the cucumbers take on the flavors as they sit,” writes Yewande Komolafe in the New York Times Food section, where this recipe is based.
I just omitted the dill and scallions –I didn’t have any in the fridge— and added some purslane, as we have so much succulent sprigs growing all around our garden. The combination of the lightly toasted spices is ingenious!
The salad can easily become a lovely summer lunch, served over warmed pita or with toasted slices of whole wheat bread.
2 pounds Persian, small cucumbers, ends trimmed and quartered lengthwise into spears, then crosswise into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup sunflower oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ -1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Maras, or red-pepper flakes
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (optional)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
½ – 1 cup mint leaves, thinly sliced
1 ½ cup purslane sprigs
¼ cup parsley leaves and tender stems, chopped
2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
Toss the cucumber pieces with 1 teaspoon salt and set in a colander in the sink to drain.
In a small skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the coriander and cumin, and toast until fragrant, stirring to avoid scorching, about 1 minute. Remove oil from heat, add red-pepper flakes and allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, toss the salted cucumber pieces with the scallions, if using, the spiced oil and apple cider vinegar. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or overnight, while you prepare the yogurt.
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, half of the herbs (mint and parsley), zest and juice of the lemon and the olive oil. Stir to incorporate, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spread the yogurt mixture on a plate or the bottom of a shallow bowl. With a slotted spoon drain the cucumbers and scallions of excess liquid, then place the cucumbers evenly on top of the yogurt.
Finish with the remaining chopped herbs and pine nuts, and serve immediately.