Need to let out a little tension after a long day at the office? Smash your cucumbers. Bring out the cast iron skillet or even just a heavy pot and give them a healthy smack or two. No, really — it helps. It also helps break down the vegetables just enough that they're extra ready to soak up a dressing, which in this case is a Greek-leaning one made of creamy yogurt, tangy lemon juice, and plenty of chopped fresh dill and parsley.
Why You Should Smash Your Cucumbers
While the cucumbers for this salad could be daintily sliced or diced, they're instead smashed. Peeled cucumber pieces are lightly crushed with a heavy pot or skillet, which breaks down some of their flesh, but still keeps them intact. The benefit of doing this is that it gives the cucumbers the ability to soak up more dressing in their flesh. It also makes for a more texturally interesting dish — one that's amped up with fresh dill and parsley and cooled with a few spoonfuls of creamy Greek yogurt. Serve this side dish as a crisp accompaniment to roast chicken, grilled steak, or just about any kind of fish.
5 Ways to Bring the Flavors of Greece to Your Weeknight
One of the most fun ways to spice up your weeknight dinner routine is by exploring a new cuisine — and it's not as hard as you may think. This week, five recipes show you just how easy it is to bring a touch of Greek flair to the table.
Herbed Smashed Cucumbers
1/4 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds cucumbers (about 4 medium)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1 small)
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh dill fronds
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, and oil together in a large bowl; set aside.
Peel the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 1-inch segments. Spread the pieces out on a cutting board, flat-side down, and use a heavy pot or skillet to smash the cucumber pieces and lightly crush them.
Transfer the smashed cucumbers to the bowl with the yogurt. Add the red onion, dill, and parsley, along with a generous pinch of flaky sea salt and a few big grinds of pepper. Toss gently to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but the dressing will become a bit more watery.