Citrusy Preserved Lemon Cucumber Salad
inspired by Gjelina!
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I’m writing to you from North Carolina, where I am currently relaxing at Grant’s family’s lake house. I just took my morning walk, which was much more humid than LA, but also significantly greener. I’ve been swimming in the lake, spending time with family, making poké bowls, and researching dogs like it’s my full-time job. We are nearing the end of our back to back travel, which means it’s time to adopt a doggy!!! And I cannot wait. I promise I’ll share a picture ask soon as we secure our little pup. I have never owned a dog before, so this is a big milestone for me. I’ll keep you posted!!
Cucumber salads are having a moment, which make sense to me since they’re so refreshing and easy to eat. But many different cultures around the world have their own variation of cucumber salad. You may have had a Chinese Smashed Cucumber Salad, which is usually tossed in garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, and other seasonings. There’s also Cucumber Sonomono in Japan, a vinegar based cucumber salad. But the list doesn’t end there! Thailand, Korea, and India, have their own cucumber salads, along with Hungary, Germany, and Poland, and of course you can’t forget an Arabic Fattoush Salad or an Israeli cucumber salad. I’m sure there are tons of others, but you get the gist!
This cucumber salad is based off a dish I had at Gjelina, one of my favorite restaurants in Venice, California. I’m not sure what country’s dish this is closet to, but preserved lemon is an ingredient used commonly in places like Morocco and India. It’s one of my favorite ingredients to use, as it provides sweetness, tartness, and saltiness, and I think it pairs amazingly with the refreshing characteristics of the cucumber.
If you’re having a hard time finding jarred preserved lemons at your local grocery store, you can always try making your own! You pretty much just need lemons and salt, and my friend Justine has a recipe you can use!
Preserved Lemon Cucumber Salad
Ingredients (serves 2-4)
4 Persian cucumbers, cut into diagonal slices
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Handful of fresh mint
2 tbsp fresh dill
1/2 a preserved lemon, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1. Add cucumber slices to a large bowl, and sprinkle on a pinch of salt. Set aside while you prepare the dressing.
2. In a food processor or blender, add preserved lemon, orange juice, lemon juice, honey, white wine vinegar, and paprika, and pulse/blend until ingredients are mixed together. If you prefer, you can blend the dressing completely to make it super smooth, but you can also keep a little bit of texture by leaving some preserved lemon chunks (which is what I did).
3. Drain excess liquid from the cucumbers (and if you added a lot of salt, feel free to rinse some off). Add cucumber and pumpkin seeds to the bowl, and drizzle on as much dressing as desired (if you like them very marinated, you can use the whole thing, but if you prefer less liquid, leave a little bit of dressing out). Top with fresh mint and dill, and serve.
THINGS I’M LOVING
Book: I know I’m so very late to this, but I ripped through Crying In H Mart on the plane and finished it in one sitting. It’s not the best plane read, I’ll say (I was close to bawling my eyes out like 4 times), but it’s a very relatable book about grief, family, and trying to connect with your identity and culture through food. I highly recommend it — Michelle Zauner’s writing is beautiful.
Sunscreen: It’s summer, so it’s more important than ever to protect your skin! I am a firm believer that the most effective sunscreen is the one you’re motivated to wear the most! Putting on sunscreen can feel like a hassle, and so many of them leave your skin feeling sticky or greasy, which is why I finally caved and decided to buy the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen. It goes on completely clear, and doesn’t feel greasy or heavy at all — you can’t even feel it. Now, I’ve been putting sunscreen on like it’s no big deal! It is a little bit of a splurge, but I have yet to find anything like it!
Dinner Napkins: Now that we’ve moved into our new house and are all about the dinner parties, we’ve been paying more attention to servingware and dinnerware for our table setting. We put these linen napkins on our registry, and we have been using them for all our dinner gatherings, casual or more formal! We have them in rustic orange, but they have a ton of other colors. I love the soft look of linen, and they wash really well!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!
You know me and my love for all things summer… Last week I was feeling inspired by the flavors of saffron and tomato together, so paid subscribers received a recipe for One Pot Tomato Saffron White Fish with Pearl Couscous — another one of those meals that will make you feel like you’re on vacation (and don’t forget, when you become a paid subscriber, you get access to EVERYTHING in the archives, so it’s never to late to join).
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This looks like the perfect refreshing summer salad. Do you preserve your own lemons, and have a recipe you like?