I created something amazing yesterday: Cucumber and summer veggie salad with creamy goat-yogurt dressing. After just apologizing to my boyfriend for being a terrible summer cook, I managed to throw together a yummy summer salad that’s even pretty to look at. Not only is it a dish with high potential for customization, it’s also perfect to sop up the inevitable summer cucumber flood. Follow below for the recipe.
Summer Cuke & Chicken Salad with Goat-Yogurt Dressing
Peel 4-5 (or however many you want, really) cucumbers and dice them into quarter size chunks. The type of cucumber doesn’t really matter though English or pickling cucumbers are easier to peel. I used some lemon cucumbers from my garden too – as long as you’re ok with the skin because they aren’t very peel-able. Dice a tomato or two and finely slice up a scallion. Sprinkle a little salt over the veggies as you add them to one bowl, then put them in a fine colander to allow the extra liquid drip off. You won’t really need to do this if you’re making a single portion.
At this point, feel free to add extra veggies and greenery as you’d like. Adding Nasturtium flowers & leaves and some watercress for a little peppery flavor has turned out well for me. This evening I added some rabe and leaves of some other mesclun greens.
Add some grilled chicken pieces or whatever protein floats your boat. I think lamb might be delicious given the tanginess of the dressing, and for vegetarians – it’s quite delicious sans meat.
Dressing: The most important part!
Start with 1 cup of goat’s milk yogurt. I use Redwood Hill Farm plain. If you don’t dig the tanginess of the goat, you can substitute regular cow’s milk but be forewarned: it will change flavor dramatically. You’ll now want to add some white wine vinegar if you have it on hand, though often times I’ll find myself without it and am too lazy to go to the store. Instead, I use about 3 tbsp of regular white vinegar and add about 1 tbsp of white cooking sherry. Mix all of it together and sample until you discover the right balance. This can often be a matter of personal preference.
Putting it all together:
Go ahead and mix your salad and dressing together in a large bowl. Add plenty of cracked black pepper, a little feta or crumbled goat cheese (perhaps some cashews for an extra delicious crunch!) and let sit in the fridge for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Eat, enjoy, and be prepared to want to drink the leftover dressing. Don’t worry, it’s delicious and healthy for you as well!
(Erika is a guest writer from Portland Parlance who writes about food, fitness, and general life in Portland, OR)