A lot of people probably think that cucumbers are a weird food to like, but I’ve always loved them. They’re my favorite part of a Greek salad (besides the feta, obviously), I could put tzatziki on anything, and I always appreciate the sliced cucumbers on the veggie trays, way more than I care for the carrots (or cauliflower, ick). Although they’re not exactly the most flavorful food on the planet, they are cool, crisp, and refreshing, and what’s not to love about that?
I’ve been dreaming up all sorts of different cucumber salads lately–ones with radishes, ones with creamy yogurt dressing. But, when I picked up my first CSA basket last week, I came face-to-face with the Hakurei turnip. The amount of things I’ve made with turnips is not exactly exhaustive so I wasn’t initially sure what to do with them. The farmer told me these particular turnips are best eaten raw. Seemed easy enough for me.
The Hakurei turnips were delicious. They kind of reminded me of jicama, in that they are just a bit sweet and starchy. They pair great with cucumbers and would add a nice crispness to any salad, really.
I used my mandoline to slice the cucumbers and turnips thinly and quickly, but you obviously don’t need to do that. I was just looking for an excuse to unearth the mandoline from the back of my cabinet. I think sliced red onions would be a great addition to this salad but, unfortunately I didn’t have any around.
Cucumber and Hakurei Turnip Salad
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
4 Hakurei or other salad turnips, thinly sliced
1.25 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1.25 tsp. sugar
a couple dashes of soy sauce
1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp. sesame seeds
salt and pepper
Place the sliced cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Let them sit for about 20 minutes, and get rid of any excess moisture (draining, patting, squeezing, etc.) Mix together with the sliced turnips.
While the cucumbers are sitting, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes if using, sesame seeds, and a little black pepper to taste.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the drained cucumbers and turnips and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.