Do cucumbers grow in a Louisiana garden? The answer is emphatically, “yes.” It is the one vegetable which is sure to flourish. This year I planted cucumbers seedlings about 6 weeks behind schedule, then went out of town when they were ripening. The plants produced enough cucumbers for us to enjoy a nice batch with several over-sized cucumbers to pick. My favorite way to serve cucumbers is marinated in vinegar and oil; this time I added an oriental twist.
Several years ago, “Food and Wine” magazine featured an elegant presentation of “Taiwanese Sesame Cucumbers.” The recipe was the creation of a chef at an up-scale restaurant in New York City. The Japanese cucumber sticks were pickled in a brine of salt, sesame seeds, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar with a dash of red chili flakes.
I like the flavor combination and decided to apply it to my own over-sized cucumbers. Since the cucumbers were so large, I peeled and seeded them and sliced them crosswise rather than lengthwise. I toasted the sesame seeds, mixed the marinade ingredients together and chilled. For garnish, I added a green onion from my garden and a few cherry tomatoes. In my recipe, I used only a small amount of sesame oil–just enough for flavor; diluting it with canola oil. This is the type of recipe that you can continually replenish with more cucumber slices and more marinade ingredients. Just remember to keep the marinated cucumbers nice and chilled.
For fun, I’ll serve the cucumbers along with a little family heirloom. These fighting dragons or lions came from Chinatown, San Francisco, between 1894 – 1902. The elaborate china creation was a gift from my great-great Uncle Dick Miller to his sister, my great-grandmother, Susan Miller Blough. Uncle Richard (Dick) was born on February 7, 1867, in Waterloo, Iowa, when the prairie was just being settled by farmers and only a few years after the Civil War. He apparently took a trip to the west coast at some point in time and brought home this souvenir. I’m not sure how I ended up with the figurine, it is now about 125 years old. But I love it and wish I knew more about the dragons. Unfortunately, the piece was broken and then repaired so I doubt that it is worth much but sentimental value.I love marinated cucumbers, and the sesame oil and seeds add a flavorful and oriental twist to this recipe. Oops, I see my husband finishing off the current batch of “Sliced Cucumbers with an Oriental Twist.” Need to hurry to get a few for myself. There are only a few cucumbers left in our garden this summer. Enjoy this recipe!
Sliced Cucumbers with an Oriental Twist
- 2 medium cucumbers (about 2 cups sliced)
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 green onions, white and part of green top sliced
- dash crushed red peppers flakes
- cherry tomatoes, for garnish, optional
Method and Steps:
- Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds. Slice cucumbers crosswise into thin slices. Refrigerate.
- Meanwhile, add sesame seeds to a small non-stick skillet. Do not add oil. Heat over medium heat, shake skillet to stir seeds. When seeds begin to brown, immediately remove from heat and transfer seeds to small bowl. Set aside.
- In medium-sized non-metallic bowl, add rice wine vinegar, salt, sugar and stir.
- Whisk in canola oil and sesame oil.
- Add in sliced cucumbers, sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds and a few dashes of crushed red pepper flakes. Gently toss to combine. Chill until ready to serve.
- Add cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional.