Shirazi Salad

Shirazi salad

The aroma of cucumbers is one of the most refreshing scents in the world, so this salad, chock to the brim full of cucumbers, is as much a joy to make as it is to eat. My partner is Persian and through him I’ve discovered the joy of Persian food. I don’t make it, except for this salad, for two reasons:

1.  There’s a terrific Persian restaurant right up the street from me; and
2.   The things I like are mostly very complicated to make.

But this salad is a snap. There are various takes on it, but this is my favorite.

You need:
English cucumbers, tomatoes (I use cherry or grape), white vinegar (or lemon), dill, salt and pepper.

Begin with the  cucumbers. One makes a salad for two, two leaves you some leftovers, three allows you to eat it for three or four days, and it lives in the refrigerator very well. Cut the cucumbers this way:

shirazi7

shirazi6Then add tomatoes – cut them in half so they’re around the same size as the cucumbers. Add as many or as few as you like. I like about a 3/4 cucumber to 1/4 tomato ratio.

Next, add the seasoning and the vinegar. Purists might say you should use lemon juice (they also say you should add onions, but I’m not a fan of raw onion) but you’ll just have to experiment with those on your own. Go slow with this. It’s easy to add more, but it’s more difficult to find more cucumbers and tomatoes at the last minute to soak up too much of anything.

I don’t use a lot of vinegar, but I use a fair amount of dill, in fact, as with cucumbers, the more the merrier. Stir it all up, taste for vinegar and seasoning. Add more if necessary.

I ALWAYS put this salad in a white bowl. As you can see, it’s one of the prettiest salads in the world. Once guests taste it, they want it every time they come over for dinner.

It’s a terrific and easy addition to any meal, including lunch at the office or at school. It’s perfect for a potluck because it’s so beautiful and it’s unlikely anyone else will bring it.

Kate

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