Saturday, 10 August 2013

Kaleidoscopic Cucumber Salad

Insalata di Cetriolo, Ravanello, Crescione & Cumquat
Cucumber, Radish, Cress & Cumquat Salad

At first glance, this is a very pretty salad, with lovely colors, looking very much like a kaleidoscope of colored circles... but at second glance- or at the very latest at the first taste, you will soon see that it is every bit as delicious in taste as it is in appearance!

You may think that this was probably simply an exercise in trying to get a little fancy with the presentation... but the truth of the matter is that my motivation was much less pretentious than that. Basically, these ingredients had been at home a day or two longer than they maybe should have been... and so fate brought them together, so that they could depart this Earth in a blaze of glory, rather than just fizzling-out and just being dropped into a trash can!

To prepare the cucumber, I simply cut it in half and then took slices of it using a potato peeler. My tip is to not remove the seeds when you do this, as I did with the first half of the cucumber, as that made it a little less stable and also because the blade deals better with a broader surface to cut into. I only realized this after doing the second half- so take heed!

The radishes I cut as thinly as possible, if you have any kind of gadget that will do this for you... good for you! Use it!! Otherwise, be patient and do your best! As you can see, my method for dealing with the smaller ones, was simply to cut them into quarters. To make this salad, I needed only 1/4 of a cucumber and 4-5 radishes, which made this into a light but delicious entrée and a great treat to serve up to guests as a party for example...

I arranged the cucumber and radishes on my serving plate, then added a couple of finely sliced cumquats here and there and a sprinkle of freshly cut watercress- straight from it's little pot, snipped away and scattered around decoratively.

I made the dressing out of 5 tablespoons of orange and lime juice each, two tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and just a touch of green Tabasco. I whisked this together and then spooned the sweet, citrus dressing over the salad making sure to not overdo it! This was a perfect Summer starter to a wonderful evening meal, but could also be served as a light lunch or indeed as a side dish... the choice is yours! Just please make sure to take it!

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