Smashing things is satisfying, but also delicious -- just try smashed burgers, smashed potatoes, or smashed Brussels sprouts, and you'll know what we mean. But cooked foods aren't the only ones that can benefit from this method. If you're a fan of a refreshing, hydrating, crunchy cucumber salad, a quick smash of the main veggies in question will give your dish a major upgrade.
What does this do to the cucumbers? In general, smashing foods produces a different flavor and texture profile than if you were to eat them as is -- for example, it creates more room for browning to occur when making a burger. But when it comes to cucumbers, smashing them allows all the juices, seeds, and smells to release, and makes room for your salad's dressing to seep inside the open veggies. It also allows compounds in the cells of the cucumbers to meld together in a unique way so they end up tasting crunchy and full of liquid in every bite. Cucumbers are beloved in China as a cleansing, cooling food, and opening them up while prepping your salad is a traditional Asian method that makes the end result all the more refreshing.
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How To Make Smashed Cucumber Salad
If you're ready to smash your cucumbers, here's how to do it. You can either use a large knife, rolling pin, or meat pounder, and you can either start with your veggies as-is (after washing) or by cutting them in half crosswise. To make this easier and to keep the juices from going everywhere, try covering your cucumbers in plastic wrap before you get started. You shouldn't have to try very hard to smash them -- if you're using a knife, press it gently on the veggies until they split open and flatten a little, and repeat the process along all sections until the entire length of the cucumbers are done. Before you add them to a salad, make sure to cut them into smaller pieces and halve them lengthwise.
Since we're trying to make cucumbers as refreshing as possible here, you'll also want to salt them. Not only does this enhance their flavor, but it draws out the veggies' juices even more. If you'd like a little added sweetness, you can also sprinkle some sugar over your smashed cucumbers along with the salt. Then mix them with your dressing, which can be made out of ingredients like olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, shallots, mustard, chili oil, or red pepper flakes; and serve your finished salad with rice, noodles, or just by itself.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.