I was just down in Los Angeles taking care of my Mother's things, since she died three months ago. I did a kind of a pilgrimage and went to many of her favorite restaurants while I was there. One of them is a little place called Sue's Kitchen in Torrance. There are very few tables and one of the best things there is their cold plates. I like to order the Cucumber Salad and the Tofu Skins with Celery and also the Peanuts (previous post). I was talking to the cook and asked him about his recipe for the Cucumbers and he told me it was just Salt and toasted Sesame Oil cut with a little bit of Vegetable Oil. That's it! I've always loved these Cucumbers and somehow thought it was more complicated, but it's not. The other trick is to use small Persian Cucumbers and cut them in a roll cut. This means you trim off the ends at a slight angle and then turn the Cucumbers a half turn and cut again at the diagonal making about 1-1/2 inch chunks and you just repeat until you've cut it all up. Then you salt them and drizzle them with the Sesame Oil and Vegetable Oil and toss. The advantage of this very simple dressing is that the Cucumbers taste really fresh and frankly, more like Cucumbers than just a bland salad ingredient. They taste better if you let them sit for a while. I think you'll be surprised how good these Cucumbers taste!
Simplest Cucumber Salad
4 Persian Cucumbers
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Tablespoon toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil (I used Sunflower)
Trim the ends of the Cucumbers with a slight diagonal cut. Then roll each Cucumber 1/2 turn and cut at an angle to make a 1-1/2" piece. Repeat until all the Cucumbers are cut up. Place the Cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with Salt. Toss to coat. Then add in the Sesame Oil and Vegetable Oil and toss again. Let sit for 20 minus up to overnight before serving.
Five Element Analysis
Cucumbers belong to the Earth Element. The Sesame Oil and Salt contribute the Water Element, but this is clearly so Earthy that it's a very good dish to add to any meal that's mission that element.