With 4th of July around the corner, who can’t use some new ideas to bring to the neighborhood Potluck? Here’s a Fresh Food in a Flash idea that is easy and inexpensive to make. Cucumber Ribbon Salad with Goat Cheese and Pepitas.
One of my guilty pleasures is meeting with my food blogger friends and talking about nothing but food. So when Food Bloggers of Los Angeles Co-Founder, Erika of InErikasKitchen.com posted the June meeting for a Santa Monica Beach Picnic, I was so there! I’ve been so busy I hadn’t had a chance to get in one of my regular bike rides on the beach, so this was an opportunity to combine both activities. Bicycle to the beach with my dish in my pannier and then enjoy my friends with a wonderful lunch.
We had just made a beautiful Cucumber Ribbon Salad at our Knife Skills Class days before, so I thought it would be fresh, delicious and travel well in my pannier. It turns out that the motion of the bike may have bruised my cucumbers, sweating more liquid than when they are sitting on my kitchen counter. What I learned from this is that it’s probably best to keep the cucumber ribbons separate from the dressing until you arrive at your Potluck, then toss about 20 minutes before serving.
Making this dish teaches you a few knife skills tricks that I love to show…Using your vegetable peeler as a knife and the chiffonade technique.
Use a sharp good vegetable peeler with a wide blade to make the cucumber ribbons. I’ve used the Serrated Peeler here from Pampered Chef, which is a perfect tool for slicing the ribbons. Slice off one or two green ribbons, then flip over the cucumber so this flat edge is against your cutting board. Continue on until you get to the middle, then flip over the cucumber and continue slicing ribbons until you have a fat ribbon at the end.
For the chiffonade technique, take the basil and mint leaves off the stem. Stack about 6 of the leaves and roll them tightly like a cigar. Using the heel of a Chef’s knife, slice very thin across the cigar while rocking the knife blade up and down. Slice, do not press down with the knife blade. This is very difficult to share in words and so easy to see in person, but hopefully my picture tells the story.
I like this vinaigrette, which includes rice vinegar rather than white vinegar. It has a mellower flavor with an Asian influence. Do not combine it with the cucumbers too early as I learned from my bike ride to the beach, but do give it time to marinate and add flavor to the dish.
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 cucumbers
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chiffonade
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
- 3 ounces goat cheese
- 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1. Mix together all vinaigrette ingredients – vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Trim off ends of cucumber. Slice cucumbers lengthwise with a vegetable peeler to create long thin ribbons; Chiffonade mint and basil and place all in a salad bowl. Drizzle with just enough vinaigrette to coat and let stand to combine flavors for 20+ minutes.
3. To serve, spoon cucumber mixture onto salad plate. Add chunks of goat cheese on top and sprinkle with pepitas.
Servings: 6 Calories per serving: 167
Total Time: 35 minutes; Preparation Time 15 minutes; Inactive Time 20 minutes.