Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Smashed Cucumber Salad – I Crushed This

Your cooking skills might not be the best, but the word on the street is that you’re pretty good at smashing things, sometimes even on purpose. If that’s the case, this refreshing, and very addictive smashed cucumber salad is going to be perfect for you. Above and beyond whisking up an extremely simple dressing, the success of this recipe comes down to you being able to flatten a cucumber with something heavy.

It really is as easy as it sounds, and by crushing our cucumber before we cut it, we produce flavors that un-smashed cucs can’t. When you crush the cells in a vegetable, as opposed to cutting cleanly through them, certain compounds get mixed together, which can result in a significantly different flavor. 

This is not always a good thing, and onions are the perfect example. Use a sharp knife, and they’re sweet and mild. Use a dull knife, or that thing you ordered after seeing the infomercial at 2 AM, and you’ll get something much harsher. In fact, it’s no joke that most people who don’t like onions, grew up in a kitchen with dull knives.

However, when it comes to cucumber, these ruptured cells produce a more desirable flavor, and texture. The only decision you’re going to have to make, is how long to let the cucumbers marinate in the dressing, if at all. Many chefs will toss and serve immediately, while others like to let the cucumbers chill in the dressing for a little while in the fridge, which is the method I prefer.

You’ll just have to do some tests to see what you prefer, but either way, this is one of my all-time favorite cold summer side dishes, and one I really hope you try very soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 6 portions:
2 English cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds total weight)
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
2 garlic cloves, finely crushed
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
(or regular rice vinegar with an extra pinch of salt and sugar)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
red pepper flakes, to taste
toasted sesame seeds to garnish

20 comments:

Sterling Godwin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vagabond said...

What kind of pepper flakes did you use exactly (couldn't hear it well) ?

Ana Sandor said...

This salad is soooo delicious! I've always wanted to try a new easy cucumber salad, but this recipe is easier and tastier than I'd ever expected. It is kinda hot though - which I like - since my garlic appears to be hot plus chili. YUM!

Nikolaus said...

Are you serious about the onions? My gf always says she doesn't like onions, but she doesn't really seem to mind if I put some sautéed ones in the food �� Plus, the last time I minced my onions somewhat sloppily they had this weird taste! Everything starts making sense all of the sudden ��

Also, I love your videos ������

Kenny Johnson said...

My wife who is Chinese always makes a dish like this with black vinegar and chili oil being the only changes. I think the Korean pepper is a great idea.

skristenl said...

I just made this recipe. I was skeptical as I am picky about my cucumbers, but this recipe is so delicious, but for health reasons, I think I will leave out the red pepper next time, although it really does make the dish.

Courtney said...

He's using Korean red pepper flakes. Gochugaru is what they are called.

Mary W said...

First time I've ever wanted to try a salad recipe like this. You had me at add some salt and "sugar" over the smashed cukes. Sort of woke me up and then rice vinegar. I think smashing also allows the dressing to sink in better. Now I can't wait to try it and will go ahead and get some sesame oil, too. It sounds amazing. And of course, ribs would be the perfect side dish for these fresh cukes, too.

Tunalou said...

Great recipe. Love the heat. have been making cucumber salad for years, never thought about crushing first. Might, next time, add some VERY thinly sliced shallots. Thank You Again, Chef John. You Rule!

Tunalou said...

Thank You Again, Chef John. Enjoy the heat, have been making some variation for years, but never crushed first. You Rule!

Pat Taber said...

I left this in the fridge for a couple of hours and was unimpressed, but after leaving it overnight, it's AWESOME! I can predict this will be a summer favorite.

Michael Granger said...

Vagabond:

I believe they were Gochugaru, which are Korean red pepper flakes. Easily obtained on Amazon or at a local Korean grocery.

Kathleen Whipple said...

I just made this. I didn't have Korean pepper flakes so I used cayenne as a substitute. This came out fantastic! I can't wait to serve it with my dinner tonight!

abc said...

toasted sesame oil or plain sesame oil?

lotta joy said...

I just made this and was amazed that when the cucumber split, the seeds all came out! Double bonus you forgot to mention. I let them drain on paper towels then added the rest of the ingredients minus the Korean chili powder.

I rough diced them and put them in our salad, along with tomatoes, black eyed peas, lettuce, mandarin oranges and thinly sliced green olives. OMG. Such a "juicy" salad!!

Nunzio Lazzara said...

Made this for my wife and she loved it (as did I). Such an addictive flavor combination!

Cherish Adore said...

Quadrupled the recipe toady as I made it for the 5th time. Best food blog EVER! I am on your site multiple times each day! Please never stop what you're doing Chef! #1 fan! =)

Jim Dowell said...

love hell or high watermelon!

David M. said...

I just used regular cucumbers and the end result was pretty good. I used three normal cucumbers since their length was not as long as the English. I must have needed a bit more seasoning since they weren't especially delicious but pretty good.
In the end, I poured a bottle of Ranch dressing over them and they were fine. JK! Love the YT show! I've made many of your dishes!

yimyammer said...

whats the recipe for the ribs?