A recipe with bruised cucumbers, for cooling

Last week I had you crush the pagers, remember? Boiling them first and then gently crushing them with the bottom of a pan creates a lot of messy bits and frayed edges that then become deliciously crispy when you bake them. This does not only apply when you prepare them in the oven, but also when you bake them in a pan. In any case, if that crushing still had to be done with the necessary policy, today we are taking a more rigorous approach. Cucumbers can be beaten without embarrassment.

Excuse me? Has your Saturday receptionist got a little off track due to the heat? Don’t worry, we eat cucumber salad because of the cooling effect. And beating cucumber is a tried and tested technique from Chinese cuisine. In The real Chinese cuisine at home explains Fuchsia Dunlop that bruising serves to make the cucumber more tender and to ensure that the pulp absorbs the dressing better.

I’ve made Dunlop’s Crushed Cucumber with Garlic Dressing many times, and it’s true, slathering a cucumber will make it wonderfully tender. You can hardly imagine that if you are used to cucumber salads that consist of thinly sliced ​​or coarse strands. It’s almost a different vegetable this way. If I had to describe it, I’d say meatier.

Dunlop makes her cucumber with salt, sugar, chinkiga vinegar (a black rice vinegar that tastes faintly like caramel), light soy sauce, chili oil, lots of garlic and a pinch of Sichuan pepper. And that’s super tasty. But it’s also pretty intense, as in spicy, and you’ll be walking around with a garlic cone for two more days. That’s why I’m giving you a slightly more accessible recipe. An entry-level model, as it were. If you want it a bit spicier, add a tablespoon of chili oil. And if you happen to visit an Asian store in the near future, buy a bottle of chinkiga vinegar and experiment with it. It is also very nice for extinguishing stir-fries.

Another tip for bruising. I write above that it is allowed to hit without embarrassment, but the first few times I did that the cucumber seed flew through the kitchen and that is not necessary again. Nowadays I put a sheet of cling film over the cucumbers before I start beating, that makes a difference. Other than that, it’s mainly a matter of practice. Just like an executioner knows exactly where he can best hit his victim for the greatest effect, you will use that frying pan (or rolling pin, that is also possible) in a more targeted and controlled manner.

ahem. Maybe I’m a little off track…

Bruised cucumber salad

For 4 persons:

2 cucumbers; 1 small garlic clove, finely grated; 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or chinkiga vinegar); 1 tbsp light (Chinese or Japanese) soy sauce; 1 tsp sesame oil; a pinch of sugar

Place the cucumbers on a cutting board and beat with a frying pan or rolling pin. The aim is to crush them severely.

Cut the cucumbers lengthwise open and scrape out the seeds. Cut the flesh into pieces. Put them in a colander, add a pinch of salt and let them stand for 10 minutes.

Make a dressing of the garlic, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Squeeze as much moisture as possible from the cucumber and mix the pieces with the dressing. Let the cucumber salad stand for at least half an hour to allow the flavors to infuse.