When I was young, there were quite a few days when I did my absolute best to convince my mom that I was sick so I wouldn’t have to go to school. I would run up to her room and tell her to feel my forehead to check for a fever. She would play along, but always replied with “cool as a cucumber.” I always wondered where that saying came from. So, I did a little research. I learned that the average internal temperature of a cucumber is somewhere around twenty degrees cooler than the temperature outside. Hence, cool as a cucumber.
I love using cucumbers as a garnish for all kinds of meats. This is particularly great during the summertime. Sometimes it gets so hot that I am not even hungry by the time dinner rolls around. The heat seems to suck all of the energy out of me. A perfect light summer meal uses cucumber to compliment the star ingredient – salmon. I love to grill salmon fillets and top them with a cool cucumber relish. I also add some tomato and fresh mint to the relish.
Buttery grilled salmon topped with a cool, summery cucumber mint relish
- ½ hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- ¼ red onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 (6 ounce) center-cut salmon fillets
1. Toss together the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, mint, honey, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a small bowl to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
2. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the salmon with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side, until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Transfer the fillets to plates and top each with a spoonful of the relish.