Cucumbers can be, well, a little boring. Salads, too.
Don't get me wrong, I love the snap of a nice, crunchy slice of cucumber in a fresh green salad, but, sometimes, I just want more.
To the rescue comes this Cucumber Salad with a wonderfully creamy, garlicky dressing.
Drain the cucumber slices, cut really thin, on paper towels before tossing them into the salad to keep it from getting watery.
In goes fresh mint and basil along with chopped peanuts and spicy Thai chilies to keep it from getting too heavy.
The dressing calls for roasted garlic (which takes about an hour). By all means, do not skip this ingredient. In fact, once you've done it, you'll be hooked. The garlic has a soft butter consistency and mild, slightly sweet taste. Try spreading it on a slice of French bread. Yum!
Serve this salad within about an hour of pouring on the dressing.
Cucumber Salad with Creamy Roasted Garlic Dressing
Makes 4-6 servings.
4 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced thin
2 Thai chilies, stemmed, seeded and minced
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped coarse (optional)
1. Spread cucumber slices evenly over paper towel-lined baking sheet and let drain for 15 minutes.
2. Gently toss cucumbers with ¾ to 1 cup dressing (recipe below), chilies, mint and basil in large bowl until evenly coated.
3. Let salad sit for 5 minutes, then toss again. Season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with peanuts, if using, and serve immediately.
Makes about 1 cup. Use about 2 tablespoons of dressing per 2 cups of greens.
3 large garlic heads (3 ounces each), outer papery skins removed and top third of head cut off and discarded
¼ cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 F. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and roast until golden brown and tender, 60 to 75 minutes.
2. Remove garlic from oven and carefully open foil packets. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves from skins (you should have about 6 tablespoons); discard skins.
3. Process garlic, vinegar, water, honey, mustard, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. With blender running, slowly add olive oil until incorporated, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dressing can be refrigerated for up to one week; whisk to recombine before using.