Friday, September 10, 2010

Spicy Summer Salad

When Serious Eats posted "A fond farewell to summer (produce)" as the Weekend Cook and Tell talk topic, I wanted to kick and scream like a toddler. NO! I'm not ready for summer to end! I'm not done eating fresh tomatoes and lovely produce from the farmer's market!


But really, it's fall and the fall produce is just as wonderful as the summer selections. And most of the summer vegetables will be available here until the market closes in late fall. Some things will disappear, but much of it will be around until I finally say "good-bye" to the farmers at the end of October.

Besides tomatoes, my favorite summer vegetable is the often-ignored pickling cucumber. While they make great pickles, they're also my first choice for eating. And when I buy too many, they become salads. Much of the time I pair them with dill, but lately I've been on a spice binge, and I happened to have Serrano peppers growing happily outside, and I thought a red one would look pretty in the salad.

The summer squash I used was a yellow pattypan, but use whatever you like. I used just one serrano, but you can use more - or less - or use any pepper you like. I like this salad best after it has rested in the refrigerator overnight. Particularly with the hot pepper, it gives that flavor a chance to mingle. It also mellows the bite of the onions.

I left the Serrano pepper in slices so they could easily be picked out of the salad if someone didn't want that much heat in one bite. You could also choose to dice the pepper to spread the heat around more. And remember, the seeds can be very hot, so if you don't want the heat, seed the peppers before you slice them.

This sounds like a lot of slicing, but I used my mandoline and it was done in minutes.I went with a very thin slice on all the vegetables this time, but I've been known to make it thicker or chunkier as well. It's up to you.

Spicy Summer Salad 

5-6 pickling cucumbers, peeled, sliced
1 green pepper, cored, quartered, sliced
1/2 of a large onion, sliced
1 small summer squash, sliced
1 Serrano pepper, sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

Put it all in a bowl and mix well. Taste to adjust seasoning. You can serve immediately, or let it mellow in the refrigerator overnight, or longer.

I like this best after it has been refrigerated at least overnight, and every time I open the refrigerator, I shake it around a bit to mix it up and get everything sloshed around with the vinegar.

I always make extra so I can have it as a side dish for several meals - or as a quick, crunchy snack.

1 comment:

Stella said...

This looks wonderful. I don't usually buy chiles, but I bought a jalapeno recently and put it on guacamole. It was so good. I'm going to build up my spice tolerance! Ooh, and I bet this just gets better and more 'pickle like' with age. Nice!

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