Ever have such a frustrating day that you feel as though you could just beat someone up? Before things get too violent, head into the kitchen to take that aggression on your food, instead of your coworkers! Roughly bashing cucumbers rather than merely slicing them actually serves a very flavorful purpose, rather than just being a satisfying way to blow off some steam. The uneven nooks and crannies created by forcing them to split open allows them to more readily absorb dressing, whereas smooth cuts yield slick surfaces that let it roll right off. This technique is typically seen in Asian cuisine, paired with hot spices to contrast with the cooling effect of chilled cucumbers, but I love going a more Mediterranean route and hitting an herbal, savory note with fresh za’atar instead. That said, consider this a template for any sort of seasoning blend you’d prefer, from Creole seasoning to yellow curry powder. I have yet to find anything in my spice rack that clashes with the humble cucurbit!
Quick Tip: Reach into the pantry if you don’t want to stop and chop; use half the measurements of dried herbs as you would use fresh. Alternatively, put this recipe on warp speed by using about 2-3 tablespoons of a ready-made za’atar blend instead of the sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, and sumac