Chilled Cucumber with Garlic

Chilled Cucumber with Garlic

I’m always surprised at how good this dish is. I recommend using the back-of-the-cleaver technique. It makes you look like you have no knife skills, but the cucumbers really do take up the dressing better.



1 pound pickling, Persian, or English cucumber
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and mashed to a paste
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 to 3 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar, optional
1 teaspoon chile oil (homemade or purchased) or sesame oil



Peel the cucumber, if you like. Then trim the ends and split lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Then cut the cucumber halves on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick pieces.

Place into a bowl and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Whisk together the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, sugar, peanut oil, vinegar and chile oil. Taste and adjust the flavors to end up with a garlicky, rich, tangy, savory finish. Set the dressing aside.

Rinse and drain the cucumber well. Grab it by the handfuls and give the cucumber a gentle squeeze to expel a little excess water.

Add the squeezed cucumber to the dressing.

Chill well before transferring to a plate and serving. Or slide into the freezer for 8 to 10 minutes to hasten the chilling.