I bravely sampled everything at a huge, over-laden table during a cooking day at a recent Chef’s convention. My mouth was ricocheting between sweet, savory, indian spices, seafood, asian, it was a happy extravaganza of flavors. The one dish that stood out from all the others was this cucumber pineapple salad. I barely realized what I was tasting until the flavors forced me to pause and savor.
So if you’re cooking with 300 chefs and this is the best dish you came across (among MANY fantastic dishes) you should share it with others!
This refreshing recipe was developed by Mai Pham, owner/chef of the Lemongrass Restaurant in Sacramento, California and cookbook author. The original recipe calls for creating five pounds and is intended for a university food service setting. I’ve adapted it down for 8 servings.
- 2 cucumbers, finely diced
- 1/2 fresh pineapple, finely diced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Combine the vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir well, let it sit a bit, then stir again until the ingredients have dissolved
- Add the liquids to the pineapple and cucumber in a medium sized bowl
- Add the shallot
- Let steep for at least 30 minutes before serving
- Serves 8
Cooking tips: There are several optional things to add here. Pham suggests red bell pepper, red chili peppers, cilantro and/or mint. If any of those sound good to you, add it and enjoy. If my memory serves me correctly, I tasted it with a bit of cilantro at the convention. The dish was great the first day but even better the second day. The original recipe called for a 1/3″ dice, whatever you decide to go with keep it consistent with the cucumbers and the pineapple. If you’d like you can scoop out the cucumber seeds, but we chose to leave them in.
We had six taste-testers for this recipe and all were quite happy. Although one person said they preferred our vinegar cucumber recipe. (He still finished his dish though!) We also served this along with our turkey burger recipe and I put some of the salad on top of the burger which was delicious.
Have you seen this combination in a salad before? What do you think about the ingredients? Would you add any of the optional ones? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
- Confetti Corn Recipe, a bright a flavorful side (another recipe from the convention)
- Foodies and Microwaves, an interesting take on why foodies are snobs about microwaves