• Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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Crave

Crisp cukes, creamy garlic make match

  • AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN / AP

    A cucumber salad with a creamy roasted garlic dressing can be modified to use miso.

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Crisp, crunchy and cool, this cucumber salad offers complexity with little effort. A creamy dressing of roasted garlic — which can be adapted to include miso — provides savory notes of umami and mellow sweetness.

To avoid watering down the salad, we drained the sliced cucumbers on paper towels for a few minutes. Generous handfuls of fresh mint and basil brought layers of herbal flavor. Crunchy chopped peanuts played off the nuttiness of the dressing beautifully and offered great textural contrast.

Spicy Thai chilies brought all the flavors into focus and ensured that the rich dressing didn’t make the salad feel too heavy.

Cucumber Salad With Creamy Roasted Garlic Dressing

Be sure to slice the cucumbers 1/8- to 1/4- inch thick. This salad is best served within 1 hour of being dressed.

  • 4 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced very thin
  • 3/4 cup Creamy Roasted Garlic Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 2 Thai chilies, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Spread cucumber slices evenly over paper towel-lined baking sheet and let drain 15 minutes.

Gently toss cucumbers with dressing, chilies, mint and basil in large bowl until evenly coated. Let salad sit for 5 minutes.

Toss salad again. Season with salt and sprinkle with peanuts, if using. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving, with garlic dressing: 165 calories, 11 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 454 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 4 g protein.

Creamy Roasted Garlic Dressing

Pair this dressing with sturdy greens. You will need about 2 tablespoons of dressing per 2 cups of greens.

  • 3 large heads garlic (3 ounces each), outer papery skins removed and top third of head cut off and discarded
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap garlic in foil and roast until golden brown and very tender, 1 to 1-1/4 hours.

Remove garlic from oven and carefully open foil packets. When cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves from skins (you should have about 6 tablespoons); discard skins.

Process garlic, vinegar, water, honey, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds, scraping down sides as needed.

With blender running, slowly add oil until incorporated, about 1 minute. Taste and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1 cup. (Dressing can be refrigerated up to 1 week; whisk to recombine before using.)

VARIATION: To add miso to the dressing, omit thyme and pepper. Substitute rice vinegar for white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon white miso for mustard, and vegetable oil for olive oil.

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