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Cucumber-Sesame Salad

Ease of Preparation: Easy

Preparation Time: 20 min
plus 20 min sitting time

Servings: 4

Recipe By: Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

From:  Seductions of Rice
Used with permission of Workman Publishing Company

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Cucumber-Sesame Salad

This salad is so easy to prepare, and no matter how often we eat it, it is never enough. In Taiwan it frequently comes to the table with a plate of fried peanuts as an hors d'oeuvre, even before you've had a chance to order. (But watch out--you still get charged for it.)
Use the small, thin-skinned varieties of cucumber native to parts of Asia or the Middle East if you can--they have the best flavor.

1  European cucumber or 1 pound pickling cucumbers (6 to 8)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or  red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons roasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried chile pepper flakes
2 to 3  thin strips red bell pepper, for garnish (optional)
Wash the cucumber well. This dish is traditionally made with unpeeled cucumbers, because the contrasting greens are very pretty, but peel the cucumber if you wish. Trim off the ends and cut lengthwise into quarters. Remove the seeds. Cut each quarter lengthwise into 3 or 4 slices, then cut into approximately 2-inch lengths. Place in a colander, sprinkle on the salt, and mix gently with your hands to ensure all the pieces are salted. Let drain over a bowl or in the sink for 20 minutes.

Rinse the cucumber pieces thoroughly with cold water, wrap in a cotton towel, and gently squeeze dry. Place in a shallow serving dish.

In a small bowl, blend together the ginger, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Pour over the cucumbers and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the chile flakes over. Add the optional bell pepper garnish. Serve immediately, or within 2 hours, or cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

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