My parents came to visit us in New York last weekend and brought with them some great produce from their local farmers market including a ton of late season cucumbers. The old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” is incredibly true in the kitchen and never more so for me than when I have an unexpected fresh produce.
Usually I buy cumbers one at a time and use them more as a garnish, but in this case I had a half dozen. So the question was: what to do with a half dozen cucumbers? Make pickles? A chilled soup? Or, maybe a different take on Greek/Mediterranean flavors by making the cucumber the star….
I scoured the pantry and fridge for inspiration and found feta and a can of chickpeas and after that the idea of doing a light, lemony vinaigrette seemed like the best way to bring all the ingredients together.
Lemony Cucumber Salad with Chickpeas (serves 4)
4 cups (3-4 medium) thinly sliced seedless cucumber
1 can (15 ounce) drained rinsed chickpeas
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons minced, fresh dill
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Using a chef’s knife, vegetable peeler, or mandoline, thinly slice the cucumbers length-wise into long ribbons about 1/8”. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Set aside both the chickpeas and the cucumbers in a medium bowl lined with paper towel to collect any excess moisture.
To make the vinaigrette whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, minced dill, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper with olive oil.
Remove the paper towel from underneath the cucumber and chickpeas and toss together with the dressing. Next, in a dry sauté pan toast the almonds for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.
Arrange the cucumber and chickpeas on a platter and sprinkle with the toasted almonds and feta. Garnish with lemon zest and dill fronds.
Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes, absolutely. I used a small sauté pan, a medium cutting board, and a medium mixing bowl. I also used a medium sieve, a mandoline slicer, a chef’s knife for chopping, a small paring knife, a liquid measuring cup and measuring spoons, along with a wire whisk.
I made this for myself as a light lunch and I was really happy with the results. This salad incorporates Greek and Mediterranean ingredients in a way that highlights the cucumber and punches up the cool watery flavor with a strong lemony dressing. Mike’s influence on my cooking means that I’m always looking for ways to include substantial components in my salads. In this case the delicate crunch of the cucumbers are balanced by the chickpeas and almonds topped with a little salty feta. Yum.