Avocado, Cucumber and Sesame Salad

Another piece of my June 2023 story. See the whole thing here.

Caroline BarrettI made a salad recently, a crispy and creamy and just-right salad that is easy to make and goes with a simple hot-weather meal (think chicken or a piece of salmon on the grill). I love dishes that are made with just a few ingredients. Each thing added, when there’s only but a few of them, shines bright. Here, it’s a perfectly ripe avocado, sliced and tossed with cucumber. Before putting the two together, take the time to sprinkle salt over the cucumber and allow it to rest. The salt draws some of the moisture out, resulting in a very crisp and flavorful bite. After 20 minutes or so, blot it dry, and then combine with the other ingredients. I save radish tops for a dish like this, as they add a good, snappy bite. (You could use arugula or kale or dandelion greens instead.) Once you’re ready to eat, drizzle on a bit of olive oil (the extra virgin kind), a drop or two of toasted sesame oil, and a squeeze of lemon. Elliot, funny guy he is, doesn’t like cucumbers, so he eyed the salad warily. Just like when he was a boy, he went to the fridge and took a handful of cherry tomatoes to eat instead. Oh, well.

Avocado, Cucumber and Sesame Salad
Serves 5

1 large European style cucumber, trimmed and sliced
Sprinkle of kosher salt
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
A few drops of sesame oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Handful of arugula or other spicy salad greens
Sprinkle of flaky sea salt

Place the cucumber in a large bowl and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt (¼ teaspoon does it.) Toss the cucumbers and set aside for 30 minutes. Use a clean towel to squeeze the moisture from the cucumbers. Gentle stir in the avocado, olive oil, sesame oil and lemon juice. Spread the greens on a large plate and top with the cucumber and avocados. Sprinkle generously with sea salt (about ½ teaspoon.) Serve immediately.

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