Cucumber Date Salad

Cucumber Date Salad | Pinky's Pantry
I was watching “The Best Thing I Ever Made” on the Food Network channel and saw Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian make Grilled Salmon with Smashed Cucumber Date Salad. It sounded really good so I thought I would try it. Wow! I was definitely impressed! It was so easy to do and the salad had such surprising flavor combinations! I loved the bite of sweet date combined with the sour lemon juice and the creaminess of the walnuts.

Chef Zakarian served the salad as a bed underneath a piece of grilled salmon. I didn’t have any salmon when I first made it, but I did have Mahi Mahi so that’s what I used. Delicious! Since then, I’ve served this salad with other fish, like cod, and even with roast chicken. It goes great with anything. Its refreshing flavor is perfect for a summer meal. It’s easy to see why Chef Zakarian is an Iron Chef. His recipe is definitely a keeper!

GEOFFREY ZAKARIAN’S CUCUMBER DATE SALAD

  • 2 English seedless cucumbers, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
  • 3/4 cup finely sliced fennel, feathery fronds reserved for garnish
  • 8 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1/2 a large lemon)
  • 4 tablespoons fruity olive oil (preferably from Spain)
  • medium-coarse sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  1. Roll the cucumber pieces up in a clean linen napkin or towel, and then smash them to release the juices, pressing down hard with the heels of your hands while ensuring the towel doesn’t unroll.
  2. Transfer the crushed cucumbers to a cutting board and then coarsely chop.
  3. Combine the cucumbers, sliced fennel, dates, walnuts, chives and some of the fennel fronds in a salad bowl and mix gently.
  4. Dress the cucumber salad with the lemon juice and 4 tablespoons of fruity olive oil.
  5. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  6. Toss the salad lightly.
  7. Arrange equal portions on each of six plates and top each portion of salad with a piece of grilled fish or chicken.
  8. Garnish each plate with fennel fronds and serve.

NOTE:  If you can’t get fennel, you can just omit it. I’ve done the salad with and without fennel and both ways are equally delicious.

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