Cucumber Salad + Thai Basil & Blueberry Vinaigrette
I love farmer’s markets, and as a strong proponent of supporting local vendors, the Saturday market at Wakefield’s Lake Quannapowitt has been my weekly ritual.
Since I started this blog and developing recipes, I’d always thought about how great it would be to share them at the market. So, I garnered enough gumption and approached the Market’s Manager and asked if she needed anyone to help with the food demos at the market on Saturdays.
To my surprise the answer was yes!
My first day at the Wakefield Farmer’s Market demo station was going to be a watch and learn session. Totally cool, I could do that. But like the season in New England and the profession of farming, things change on a dime. The recipe the Market Manager had prepared would not work, the main ingredient, sugar snap peas’ season was over.
And she asked me what I could make. What! Me? I was expected to have an answer on my first day?
Unknowingly, this is what I had been training, my days as a PM at a fast paced digital ad agency had been full of curveballs and had required thinking on my feet.
Driven by intuition, I dived right in, the Thai Basil form the Flats Mentor Farm looked fresh and left a great hint of licorice on my fingers as I touched the tender leaves. With a neutral canvas of the pickling cucumbers, and a sweet/tart addition of blueberries from the Kelly’s Farm Stand we could make a perfect salad.
Armed with the three ingredients, I got started and before I knew it, folks were asking for the vinaigrette in a bottle!
The version at the demo was very rustic since we did not have a blender, and the recipe is all approximations since I whipped it up using the condiments and supplies the Market Manager already had, sans measuring tools.
Serves Approx. – 4-6 if served by itself
3-4 small pickling cucumbers
½ pint of blueberries (approx. 5 oz.)
8-10 Thai basil leaves
1 small clove of garlic minced
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. crushed black pepper
1½ tbs. rice vinegar
2 tbs. olive or avocado oil
1 tsp. honey
- Chop the ends off the cucumbers and peal off any tough skin, the whole cucumber does not need to be peeled
- Chop the cucumber into ½ inch cubes
- Place the cucumber pieces into a colander and salt lightly to help drain the excess water – we did not do this step at the Market, but realized that it would help the salad hold longer
- Finely chop the Thai basil leaves
- Finely mince and chop the garlic clove
- Wash and rinse the blueberries and pulse in a blender – you can go rustic like I did at the Market using the back of a wooden spoon to mash the berries
- Pour the rice vinegar and oil in a large bowl with the salt, pepper, garlic and herbs and whisk until smooth
- Add the blended blueberries and whisk further until the vinaigrette emulsifies, reserve ½ the vinaigrette
- Pat dry the cucumber pieces and add to the bowl containing the dressing
- Mix to coat and add more vinaigrette to taste
- Adjust any salt or pepper and serve chilled if possible