Serve this tangy dish as starter or main
Cucumbers and smoked salmon, tossed with creamy feta cheese dressing. What’s not to like? Especially when you add green peas for color and radishes for perk.
Serve this dish of scrumptiousness as a starter. Or spoon up extra-large portions for a light main course.
This salad is quick to make, so it’s ideal for weeknight dinner. But it’s also fancy enough to serve at your next dinner party.
Like maybe your Mother’s Day celebration this weekend?
Recipe: Cucumber and Smoked-Salmon Salad with Feta
This recipe was inspired by a cucumber salad that some good friends served us a few weeks ago (thanks, Carol and Bob!). They, in turn, were inspired by a recipe in Andrea Bemis’s Dishing Up the Dirt.
The original recipe used a vinaigrette-style dressing, and didn’t contain salmon. We love creamy feta, so we replaced the original dressing with one of our favorites. The original also included avocado, which we omitted – you might want to add that back in.
Exact quantities aren’t critical for this recipe. So feel free to adapt.
This salad takes 10 to 15 minutes to put together.
This recipe yields 2 generous main-course servings, or 4 starter-size servings.
- 1 English (seedless) cucumber or 2 large common cucumbers
- 1 cup frozen peas (may substitute fresh)
- 3 to 4 ounces sliced smoked salmon (or lox; see Notes)
- ½ bunch of radishes (a good handful)
- a handful of fresh mint
- ~4 ounces of crumbled feta cheese (reserve a few large crumbles for garnish, if you wish)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (or more to taste)
- salt to taste (maybe half a teaspoon of kosher salt; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (half a dozen grinds for us)
- ½ to ¾ cup yogurt, preferably Greek (to taste)
- mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Wash and dry the cucumber(s). If using regular cukes, you may want to peel them and remove the seeds. Slice the cucumbers into thin ribbons, using a vegetable peeler or a mandolin. Place the cucumber ribbons in a large mixing bowl.
- Cook the peas in the microwave until just done (about 3 or 4 minutes). Rinse the peas under cold water to cool them, then add the peas to the cucumber ribbons.
- Cut the salmon into slices of a quarter inch or so. Add the salmon slices to the cukes and peas.
- Clean the radishes, then remove their stems and root ends. Slice the radishes thinly, then add them to the mixing bowl.
- Rinse off the mint, then dry it. Mince the mint finely, then add it to the mixing bowl.
- Add the feta to a separate, smaller bowl. Crumble the feta with a fork or a wire whisk. Add the lemon juice or vinegar, then whisk together. Add the olive oil a tablespoon at a time, and whisk until you have an emulsion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then mix in enough yogurt to create a creamy sauce. Add less yogurt if you want a very thick sauce, more if you want a thinner one.
- Add half the dressing to the cucumber mixture (reserving the rest for another use; it’ll keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several days). Toss all the ingredients until everything is well mixed.
- Plate the salad. Garnish with mint sprigs and/or reserved crumbles of feta, if you wish, and serve.
- We like to use seedless English cucumbers for this dish. Their skin is thinner than that of regular cucumbers (and it’s not waxed), so we never peel them. But regular cucumbers would work in this dish too.
- Lox and smoked salmon are similar, but not quite the same. Lox is salmon that’s been cured in brine, and is often smoked. You can also buy salmon that has been smoked, but not brined. Either will work in this dish. We used smoked salmon (not brined).
- Feta cheese is usually made from sheep’s milk, or sometimes from a mix of sheep’s and goat’s milk. The real stuff comes from Greece. You often see domestic “feta” made from cow’s milk, which we don’t think is as good as the real thing.
- We think lemon juice works a bit better in this dish than the wine vinegar, but the vinegar is certainly OK.
- If you don’t want to use (or don’t have) fresh mint, try fresh dill or oregano.
- You may also want to add some chopped scallions to this dish. They probably would make a nice addition.
- Some minced sweet red pepper might add a nice touch too.
- We generally use kosher salt for cooking, which is coarser than regular table salt (and thus less salty by volume). So if using table salt, use about half of what we suggest.
- But, as always, season according to your taste, not ours.
“So you used smoked salmon,” said Mrs Kitchen Riffs. “But no lox step.”
“Don’t make a feta-ral case out of it,” I said.
“Feel cool as a cucumber after that comment?” said Mrs K R.
“Well,” I said. “We’re subjecting this salad to a lot of peas-poor puns.”
“Yup, the veggies are screaming in anguish,” said Mrs K R. “And rooting for us to stop.”
Better desist now. Don’t want a hoarse radish.
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