Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cucumber Salad

In Frederick, Maryland exists the best Chinese restaurant I have ever had the pleasure of dining at: China Garden, right off the golden mile. It was one of the places my family visited regularly, and not only was the food great, but one of the special things about them was the complimentary items you'd get before, during, and after your meal. Upon seating, you could pour yourself some delicious hot tea, and munch on a sweet and tangy cucumber salad. And after you ate, they'd always give you something, whether it be just orange segments or a nice scoop of strawberry ice cream.
These experiences have been buried deep in the archives of my brain, when it was suddenly brought to life when I came across a recipe for that very same cucumber onion salad they used to give us. As soon as I saw the picture, I knew this was exactly what I had enjoyed as a precursor or side to Chinese food all those years ago.

Not only did it match perfectly, it takes about five minutes to whip up. Try it next time you're making an Asian-based meal.

  • 2 cups chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin
  • pinch of crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • crushed roasted peanuts, for sprinkling

Toss everything together, and let it marinate for at least 20 minutes at room temperature. Not only will the onion get a little less pungent, but everything soaks up the vinegar, which really makes it good. There seems to be quite a lot of vinegar but that's mostly so that it can marinate. Sprinkle on some crushed peanuts before serving.

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