This simple summer salad relies on a number of smart techniques to make each one of the five ingredients shine. Smashing, salting, and draining cucumbers draws out moisture, resulting in crisper, crunchier cucumbers. It also makes for more nooks and crannies, allowing dressing and toppings (in this case feta and olives) to reach more places. Marinating the feta in olive oil and spicy red pepper flakes boosts both the flavor of the feta and the olive oil, and using a variety of Greek olives means no two bites of this salad are the same.
1½ pound Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise (about 10 Persian cucumbers)
1¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1⅓ cups)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
¾ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup mixed olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
Sat fat 8.23g
How to Make It
Place cucumbers, cut side down, on a cutting board. Smash cucumbers with a rolling pin or heavy skillet until slightly flattened and beginning to split. Using your hands, tear cucumbers into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a colander set over a bowl, and toss with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Let stand 10 minutes.
Toss together feta, crushed red pepper, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add oil, making sure that feta is submerged. Let stand 10 minutes. Drain feta, reserving oil. Set feta aside.
Transfer cucumbers to a large bowl; toss with vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil. Arrange cucumber mixture on a platter; top with feta and olives. Season with several grinds black pepper to taste, and drizzle with desired amount of reserved oil. (Use any remaining oil for salad dressings or for drizzling over fish or veggies.)
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