Monday, May 31, 2010

Cucumber Salad with Raisin - Coriander Vinaigrette

So this seemed a bit strange to me, a salad made strictly out of shredded cucumbers, but it made more than I thought...  Cucumbers were brought to Rome in the 6th century BCE by the philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras (one of the first known people who practiced a raw foods diet, he didn't eat anything animal based or that required a fire for cooking) .  He studied in Egypt and it was there that he learned of a recipe of cucumbers and raisins, coriander and mallow, a marsh herb that was thought to be a miracle food that prevented hunger and thirst, given by the goddess Demeter to Hercules.  This version is served with a creamy feta dressing, and would be great with a crusty bread or as a cooling side dish for spicy foods...

So I started by grating 2 regular cucumbers that I scooped the seeds out of.  I didn't peel them, but I suppose you could...  Then I mixed feta, heavy cream, a sweet and syrupy white wine, honey, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, coriander and pepper.  I used an immersion blender to make it thick and creamy - not something they would have used in ancient Rome, but it was the best I could do!  The next morning I mixed the dressing with the shredded cukes and topped the salad with golden raisins and chopped cilantro.

Again, it was very good, the raisins added a really interesting texture and flavor.  I could see how it would be effective in cooling your palate after a spicy dish, the cucumber and cilantro had a great, refreshing taste.

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