Spicy Cucumbers With Yogurt, Lemon and Herbs
This recipe brings together two contrasting components to create a bright summer dish. A simple yogurt sauce is dressed up with herbs and zest, then topped with cucumbers that have marinated in a spicy oil. Coriander, cumin and red-pepper flakes bloom in a neutral oil, and the cucumbers take on the flavors as they sit. For the yogurt, a variety of garden fresh herbs work well, but dill and mint are crucial. Both the yogurt and the cucumbers can be prepared up to a day in advance and kept refrigerated until serving. When you’re ready, spread the yogurt sauce in a wide bowl or plate. Spoon the cucumbers on top evenly so each each bite gets a little yogurt and a little cucumber: One will temper the spiciness of the other. Save a handful of the herbs for a fresh garnish.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 1 ½pounds Persian cucumbers (about 8), ends trimmed and quartered lengthwise into spears, then crosswise into 2-inch pieces
- 1teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ¼cup grapeseed oil or other neutral oil, such as canola, safflower, sunflower oil
- 1teaspoon ground coriander
- ½teaspoon ground cumin
- 1teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 2scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1cup full-fat Greek yogurt
- ½cup mint leaves, thinly sliced
- ¼cup dill, chopped
- ¼cup parsley leaves and tender stems, chopped
- 2tablespoons olive oil
- Black pepper
- ¼cup pine nuts (optional)
Step 1Toss the cucumber pieces with 1 teaspoon salt and set in a colander in the sink to drain.
Step 2In a small pot, 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.
Step 3In a medium bowl, toss the salted cucumber pieces with the scallions, spiced oil and apple cider vinegar. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or overnight while you prepare the yogurt.
Step 4In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, half of the herbs (mint, dill and parsley), zest and juice of the lemon and the olive oil. Stir to incorporate, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 5Spread the yogurt mixture on a plate or the bottom of a shallow bowl. Using a slotted spoon to drain the cucumbers and scallions of excess liquid, evenly place the cucumbers and scallions on top of the yogurt. Finish with the remaining chopped herbs and pine nuts (if using), and serve immediately.