One of my favorite parts about living in Israel is the incredible quality, low price, and seasonality of the produce. That and learning about new ingredients. It’s nearing the end of the time when we see Armenian cucumbers at the shuk, recognizable by their light green color and peach fuzz. I didn’t learn until recently that these sweet cucumbers aren’t cucumbers at all – they’re in the muskmelon family along with cantaloupe and honeydew (although these, I’ve learned, are more closely related to cucumbers than I could have imagined). Their slightly sweet, melon-like flavor should have tipped me off. Also called yard-long cucumbers and snake melons, I’ve heard that you can actually find these tasty fruits at farmers markets in the US.
When you have a fun, fresh ingredient like this I tend to keep my preparations simple. I immediately whipped up a simple Greek salad-inspired Armenian cucumber salad with thinly sliced red onion, feta, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. This salad can easily be made with regular cucumbers as well, and makes an amazing side or even relish for grilled chicken. It would pair as naturally with Greek souvlaki as it would with couscous, and can easily be doubled or tripled to feed more people or turn it into a light lunch.
- 1 large Armenian cucumber, roughly chopped (substitute 2 English or 3 Kirby cucumbers)
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion (from ½ a small red onion)
- ¼ cup crumbled feta or Bulgarian cheese
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Put the cucumber, onion, feta, oil, and vinegar in a medium bowl.
- Toss together.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve! (This keeps well and marinates nicely covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 day or overnight).
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