In This is Camino, Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain share the recipes for some of the warm, hospitable recipes that their Oakland restaurant is known for.
This refreshing, savory side dish combines the warm flavors of pickled chiles and toasted sesame seeds with cooling cucumbers, lemon juice, and mint. Pack this as a picnic dish or serve with some grilled meat at your next summer dinner party.
- Rinse the cucumbers and dry them well. Toss them in a bowl with enough coarse salt to lightly coat. Rub each cucumber to rough up the skin a little bit, then set them aside for a few minutes.
- Put the cucumbers on a work surface and use a pestle or the heel of your hand to whack them. You don’t want them to completely fall apart, but you do want to break them up a bit. With a knife, split them lengthwise, then cut crosswise on the diagonal into chunky pieces. Return them all to the bowl and season with fine salt. The cucumbers need to be strongly seasoned because they are cut into such big pieces.
- Pound the garlic with a pinch of fine salt in a mortar. Juice the lemon and lime directly into the mortar, then slice the spearmint and add it as well. Stir a bit to mix. Pour the minty, garlicky citrus juice over the cucumbers.
- Trim the roots of the spring onion, but keep the green tops attached. Split lengthwise, then slice crosswise on the diagonal into very thin slices. Add them to the cucumbers along with the olive oil, other herbs, and pickled chiles, and toss well. The idea is for the smashed cucumber pieces to be really spicy and salty on the outside but fresh and clean on the inside. Taste a few pieces and then let them sit for at least 15 minutes, and up to several hours.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the cucumbers. Serve with crispy flatbread.
Reprinted with permission from This Is Camino by Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain with Chris Colin, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
RUSSELL MOORE, ALLISON HOPELAIN and CHRIS COLIN
This Is Camino