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Eating In: The Accidental Salad

By Kevin Grzyb in Food on Sep 16, 2005 6:45PM

9_2005-Cuke1.gifChicagoist came home the other night and got ready to make dinner, only to realize that the pork tenderloin that we pulled out of the freezer and put in the fridge to thaw, was still in the freezer. Famished, with a family to feed we did what anyone else would do, we improvised. (see you thought we were going to say ordered a pizza, but that would make for a short post, unless we wanted to debate the best pizza in Chicago...nah, that's just itchin' for a fight in the comments) Chicagoist Jr got his favorite mac-n-cheese and Chicagoist & wife had a cucumber salad whipped up from the things that we had hanging out in the kitchen.

Luckily enough, we had two kinds of cucumbers from the weekend trip to the farmer’s market, half of a huge Armenian cuke and a couple of lemon cucumbers . Regular cucumbers or hothouse seedless will both work just as well. We cut the cukes in half and with a spoon, scraped out the seeds. Then we cut each half again, lengthwise, and we had quarters. Slice the quarters into half inch slices and toss in a bowl. We julienne cut some carrot and sliced a really ripe avocado, adding them to the bowl. Added some rice wine vinegar (basing this around the cucumber salad in Thai restaurants), juice from half a lemon and a pinch each of salt and sugar (to cut the acid). The most amazing thing started to happen as we began mixing (was about to say ‘…tossing our salad’ but we all know where that would have gone) the avocado started to break downand get mushy in the vinegar, because it was so ripe, and it became a sort of cream sauce. Growing up with a Polish family on the South Side, we remember the cucumber salad of family picnics, loaded with dill and ladled with sour cream, good in its own right, but a little overpowering and not exactly a light meal for a summer night. It was delicious. We were happily surprised with what we thought was going to be a good enough, thrown together in a bowl dish. We dressed it up on some plates with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds across the top for contrast and some panko around the edge for extra texture.

Okay, we made this on Monday when it was still 87 degrees at eight o’clock at night, so a light and refreshing salad was the thing to have for dinner. Now, it would also make a great side dish.


Photo by author.