Cucumber Salad Recipe, French-Style

Cucumber Salad Recipe, French-Style

This salad is quite simple. Few ingredients, little preparation time, less headache. Sometimes simple is best. As I’ve mentioned before, the French like to eat in courses. Instead of preparing it all at once, setting it all out on the table and trying keep everything hot at once, they separate things out into courses. If you can’t really eat everything at once, they why try to serve it at once, non?

Not all courses are complicated; neither are all meals. One type of food the French like to serve separately is la salade. Salade has a wide and vague meaning in French. I suppose it does in English, too. Sure, you might think a tossed salad is “salad” with tomato wedges, cucumber rounds, lettuce and maybe a few croutons but then if that’s considered salad, the how do we call potato salad a salad if most of us don’t even put any of those aforementioned ingredients in our potato salad? And what about pasta salad? Or cranberry salad? My encounters with cranberry salad have cranberry, jello/gelatin whipped cream and marshmallows? Now how can that be called salad?

Egg salad, tuna salad and crab or shrimp salad might be served on lettuce a.k.a. la salade, but if you put any of these salads between two slices of bread wouldn’t you call them Egg salad sandwich? Tuna salad sandwich? I would. But maybe that’s just American.

In any case, salad can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. It can be as complex or a simple as you desire. This cucumber salad is simple. It’s an easy, fast way to add a serving or two of those 5-a-Day to your diet.

I learned long ago that adding a simple salad to the beginning of your meal is ideal in getting those veggies worked in. It keeps the menu planning down to manageable and it can cost-conscious, especially when using in season vegetables. It’s all about KISS = Keep it Simple Silly! One vegetable, one salad, one course. By doing KISSing it, you’ll have a wider choice of first courses using one fresh vegetable: tomatoes, grated carrots, grated root celery, have an avocado, grapefruit, beets mushrooms…

You can always jazz up each salad with something different, a fresh herb for example or a different nut oil or vinegar. I choose a vegetable for my first course salad then I let my inner cravings tell me which way to jazz it up. Remember, there is beauty in simplicity (especially during a crazy work week night).
Cucumber salad is usually a crowd-pleaser, kids enjoying it immensely. In the sweltering summer heat, serve this salad and you’ll be as cool as…… a CUCUMBER!

Cucumber Salad – Salade de Concombres

1-2 cucumbers (1 large or two small), peeling and seeding optional
4 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Slice into thin rounds; combine vinaigrette dressing ingredients together in bowl and whisk together until smooth and creamy; toss gently with cucumbers until well coated; chill until ready to serve.

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