There is a bit of a running joke in the gardening community about zucchini. They are incredibly prolific, and no matter how much you eat and give away, there always seem to be more and more and MORE. Unless you are me. Then you can’t grow a zucchini to save your dang life.
Seriously. Zucchini are so easy-to-grow, so bountiful, that there is even a holiday to give them away to your neighbors. But I can count on one hand the number of zucchinis I’ve successfully grown over the years. What can I say, it’s a curse!
Now cucumber? Friends, I can grow you some cucumbers.
I’ve never grown a cucumber plant that produced less than 457 cucumbers. And over the years, I’ve gotten quite skilled at using up all that crisp, cool, cucumber-y deliciousness.
Some of my favorite ways to use up a windfall of cukes: pickles (duh), cucumber and onion salad, cucumber limeade, cucumber and tomato salad, cucumber mojitos, cucumber face masks, cucumber water, cucumber and strawberry margs, tzatziki sauce, and this recipe right here—crisp, cool, and spicy Cucumber Salsa.
In this salsa, tomatoes play second-fiddle to the cool and crisp cucumbers. I chose red and yellow tomatoes for a bit of a fun burst of color, and I think they are so pretty against the simple background of the pale green cucumber chunks.
Tomatoes are a strong and acidic flavor and that makes standard salsa bold and a bit in-your-face. This salsa is mild and light, but still full-of-flavor. It is great paired with lighter fare, because the salsa won’t overpower other flavors. We had it on fish tacos! It was flavorful enough to make the taco delicious, but mild enough to let the whitefish flavor shine through. It’s equally as good piled high on a tortilla chip!
The key to any good salsa is an even chop. I’m a huge fan of the “roughly chop” school of culinary skills most of the time, but in the case of salsa, you want to get every piece of flavor in each bite. That requires an even chop. Take a little bit of time to cut your veggies well and you’ll be rewarded with a pretty salsa
with a well-balanced flavor.
Use your bounty of cucumbers in this crisp, cool, and spicy Cucumber Salsa. It pairs perfectly with lighter fare!
- 2 cups seeded and diced cucumber, about 2 medium (peeled, if desired)
- 1 cup diced red onion, about 1 medium
- 1 cup diced, seeded tomato, about 1 medium
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, about half of one bunch
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 medium jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed, finely minced (see notes)
- 1/4 cup lime juice, about 2 medium limes worth
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt, to taste
- Tortilla chips, for serving
- Combine cucumber, onion, tomato, cilantro, garlic, and jalapeño in a medium-sized bowl, set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
- Pour dressing over veggies and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Jalapeños can be tricky. Some can be mild as bell peppers and other are spicier than all get out—and there is no way to tell until you taste it. If you’re heat-adverse, put on gloves, and then go ahead and make sure to remove seeds and membranes from the jalapeño (these parts are really spicy), and mince finely. Add the jalapeño a little bit at a time until you reach the desired spice level.