I am forever trying to complicate things, unintentionally, but still. I spent years at university adding complexity in an attempt to find simplicity. Convoluted ideas can befuddle even the most intelligent and when that idea is about food the resulting dish will likely cause confusion and at worst, revulsion. Good food can be like great concepts, either beautifully spare or focussed in entwined complexity which appears to be simplicity redefined. The former is more achievable in a home kitchen, the latter best left to experts.
This cucumber salad illustrates this leanness of meaning. Crisp, juicy fruit (thats right, fruit), pungent garlic, earthy sesame oil, a flourish of seeds reinforce the flavour and add a textural counterpoint. Eat as a part of a banquet, or with steamed rice, omelette and vegetables. Or as a refreshing snack with a dish of salty roasted peanuts and an ice cold beer. Delightfully understandable.
In case you didn’t notice, I am obsessing about simplicity right now, paring back the excess and revealing the basics. Why? I’m doing an intensive CELTA course, learning to teach english. For the next three weeks I am living and breathing teaching english which means simplicity, logical thought, clarity and basics. I hope my teaching becomes comparable to this cucumber salad, clear, bright and something understandable to sink your teeth into.
3 cucumbers, Kirby or Lebanese variety
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 or 2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
garlic, pulverised, as much as you can handle.
Wash cucumbers well, cut into chunks and squeeze a few pinches of sea salt through them, lightly bruising the flesh. Set aside for an hour.
Meanwhile make the dressing. Mix oil, sugar and vinegar together until sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust.
Drain liquid from cucumbers and taste. If they are too salty then rinse lightly and drain again. Stir through as much smosched garlic as you can handle (for me it is the more the merrier), then dress. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.