Smashed Cucumbers with Sesame Oil and Garlic

Date prepared: May 6, 2022

I’ve prepared this dish before but somehow never blogged about it. That changes NOW! This is a nice refreshing salad/side dish. Like quite a few of my recent food postings this recipe comes from the NY Times Cooking site. There may be a paywall but I think you can look at a few recipes a month for free (but I’m not positive).

Line up for smashed cucumbers with sesame oil and garlic

Let’s talk about sesame oil for a moment. There are two types: (regular) sesame oil and toasted sesame oil. Regular, untoasted oil is good for cooking since it has a relatively high smoke point. Toasted sesame oil – like I use in this recipe – is darker than the cooking variety and is more flavorful. So, when I’m using sesame oil for a dressing, I like to use the toasted type of oil. I keep it refrigerated (not 100% positive that is required) and take it out a bit before using it and shake the can/bottle before use.

I like English cucumbers for this dish. While this is a quick recipe to make, the cucumbers have to drain for a while. I first cut the English cucumbers cross-wise into 3 sections and cut each section in half lengthwise to expose the seeds. Then put the cucumbers halves on the counter skin side up and gently but firmly press down on them to get the seeds to release. I have a heavy masher I use to pound chicken breasts that works perfectly. Scrape out the seeds and cut the sections into bite-sized pieces.

Cucumbers de-seeded, smashed, and cut into bite-size pieces

Place in a colander, toss with a bit of sugar and kosher salt and toss. Place the colander inside a slightly larger bowl to catch the liquid.

Cucumbers starting to drain.

Cover the cucumbers with a bag of ice on top to press out more liquid. Set in the refrigerator for a few hours to drain.

Cucumbers draining and chilling.

When you are ready to make the dressing get everything lined up.

Dressing ingredients for the cucumbers.

If you are writing a blog post, put the ingredients in little ramekins …

Portioned out dressing ingredients

… alternatively, if you are a normal person, just whisk together the ingredients until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

Cucumber dressing

The dressing is a mixture of the previously combined ingredients plus some garlic, red chili flakes, and oil – I used olive oil – but a neutral oil would work too.

Garlic, oil, and olive oil

Remove the cucumbers from the refrigerator, and shake to get out the last bits of liquid – which you can discard. Place the cucumbers in a serving bowl and drizzle with the oil and toss. Add a bit of the dressing along with some garlic and red pepper flakes to taste. Toss and taste. Add more dressing, garlic, and red pepper flakes as desired. When we know the littles will be eating this we go real light on the pepper flakes.

Boom, you have a lovely side dish.

Smashed cucumbers with sesame oil and garlic.

Dinner is served. We made this for Linda and Jonah to go with the Crispy Ramen Noodles with Glazed Tofu that I recently blogged about.

Dinner is served: smashed cucumbers with sesame oil and garlic along with crispy ramen noodles with glazed tofu.

Rating: ★★★★ 4 stars. A great dish. This would go especially well as a side to a spicy dish. Perfect for summer time: easy, yummy, and not cooking.

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