Peel the cucumbers, cut them in half lengthways, and scoop out and discard the seeds. Thinly slice the cucumber and place in a sieve set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, turning the slices with a spoon to make sure that all the cucumber is well salted. Leave it to disgorge its juices for 4–5 hours, or even overnight. A great deal of liquid will be given off. Rinse the cucumber thoroughly, and dry it well in a clean tea-towel. Mix the cucumber into the yoghurt with the chilli paste, garlic and chopped mint and leave it to stand for 30–40 minutes before serving in order for the flavours to blend. Garnish with mint leaves.
Omit the chilli paste and mint, use 4 garlic cloves and 8 tablespoons yoghurt, and stir in a handful of finely chopped, mixed, fresh herbs.
Mix the prepared cucumber slices with
Dice, rather than slice, the cucumber, disgorge as above, and then mix with an equal quantity of diced melon (watermelon would give a nice colour contrast). Sprinkle with a little sugar and freshly ground white pepper, and stir in 4 tablespoons thick plain yoghurt and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar.
Salad Elona is a classic mixture of sliced cucumber (prepared as above) and sliced strawberries, arranged in alternating concentric circles, seasoned with freshly ground white pepper, and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and a little extra virgin olive oil.
© 1995 Frances Bissell. All rights reserved.