Persian Cucumbers with Garlic and Soy Sauce

King of Noodles sits just steps from our apartment. The small, sort of subterranean hole in the wall on Irving at 18th Avenue serves some of the best food in the Sunset. Their lamb noodle soup haunts us. It is the thing that most draws us back again and again. That and an impressive list of hand-filled steamed dumplings (made across the street and delivered fresh throughout the day). More on that another day.

In addition to a number of tasty, hand-pulled noodle dishes, the restaurant offers a few fresh, raw vegetable starters, including this crushed Persian cucumber salad. We love it and think the garlic lovers among you will too!

Persian cucumbers are becoming increasingly available in our local markets. We typically get ours from Trader Joe’s, but our local fresh market at 22nd Avenue & Irving sells them too. That’s where these came from. Persian cucumbers have crisp, dense structures with tiny seeds that you don’t have to remove. They’re tender and not as bitter as garden variety cucumber seeds.

This is as simple a dish as you’ll find. You’ll want to eat this as soon after preparing it as possible to preserve the delicious contrast of cool fresh cucumber and salty soy. The cucumbers will get watery over time and lose their snap if left to sit in the dressing for too long.

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Persian Cucumbers in Garlic and Soy Sauce

4 Persian cucumbers
3 tablespoons soy sauce (we prefer low sodium varieties)
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 large clove fresh chopped garlic

On a clean cutting board, trim the ends of the cucumbers and cut into inch-long segments.

Using a fork, the back of a spoon, or the side of a knife, gently crush the cucumber segments until they just split in half.

Place the crushed cucumber in a mixing bowl. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and chopped garlic to bowl and gently toss with cucumbers until they’re completely coated with the soy dressing.

Serve immediately.

Orange is the new black

Healthy and easy to make. It's time for some orange and black.

Every once in a while something truly inspired comes together without much thought. Maybe it has to do with last week’s Halloween celebration or maybe it has to do with the Giants crushing the Rangers in the World Series that made us think of black and orange. Tonight’s dinner consisted of our last piece of halibut from this summer’s catch in the bay, some left over mashed sweet potato and a little inspiration. It ended up being our tribute dish to the San Francisco Giants and their awesome World Series win. A reduction of balsamic vinegar with a little soy sauce drizzled at the end was all this dish needed to go from bland to fantastic.

The recipe for this dish is so simple that it’s a little silly to write it out, but here it is:

Seared halibut with sweet potatoes and balsamic reduction

2 sweet potatoes

2 pieces firm white fish (e.g., halibut or sea bass)

Olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Salt and pepper

Bake the sweet potatoes in a 450 degree oven until tender, approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool and peel or scope out the orange flesh into a bowl. Mash and season with salt and pepper.

After potatoes are made, salt the fish, heat a skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil and sauté the fish for two minutes per side (more or less depending on the thickness of the fish).

While the fish is cooking, reduce the balsamic vinegar over high heat in a small skillet until caramelized. Watching the pan constantly to avoid burning. Add the soy sauce and place off heat until ready to assemble. Reheat briefly before serving.

Place the fish on top of the potatoes and drizzle a small amount of the balsamic reduction on top of the fish and around the plate. Enjoy!