A reader sent in a question about how to use lemon cucumbers. If you haven’t seen them before, they’re crisp, round and yellow, hence the name. You can use them in any recipe calling for cucumbers, but if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, try this recipe for Chickpea Salad with Parsley, Lemon and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.
I discovered it years ago while part of a Gourmet Club. The name sounds snobby, but really it was nothing of the sort, just three couples who loved to cook (a rarity back then in New York) and who committed to cramming into each other’s small apartments once a month for good food. One time my friend Susie brought this dish — and it’s been a staple in my kitchen ever since.
While the ingredients sound common — after all, lemons, parsley and chickpeas are the backbone of so many different recipes — the dressing is anything but. Rather than whisking the olive oil and lemon juice together, you steep 1 tablespoon cumin seeds in 1/4 cup hot olive oil to draw out the flavor, then cool the fragrant oil before mixing it into the salad.
Incidentally, while I’m normally a fan of substitutions, resist the temptation to use fresh tomatoes in place of sun-dried. I admit I had this thought when I first read the recipe, but luckily my friend had the good sense to make it as written, and the intensity of the sun-dried tomatoes stands up to the deeply-flavored dressing in a way that fresh tomatoes would not.