Portuguese salad is a fairly standard Mediterranean salad of bell pepper, cucumber, onions, and tomatoes with a red wine vinaigrette. I had several days to plan this meal, so I thought I would pickle the cucumbers—taking a page from Japanese cuisine. While I am calling these pickles Portuguese, they are more “Portuguese flavored,” as I am using common Portuguese seasonings.
Wife Jan is always pushing me to add more vegetables to my meals. While the basic Mediterranean salad is all vegetables, it does not have much in the way of vitamin-infused, green leafy vegetables. The other Portuguese I am making also generally lack leafy greens. To please the wife, I am adding extra greens to all three of my dishes this week.
Karl’s Portuguese Flavored Cucumber Pickle Salad
Karl’s Portuguese Flavored Pickles
2 lbs. Persian cucumbers, roll cut
2 tsp. Kosher salt
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. Pimentón de la Vera Pecante (smoked Spanish paprika hot)
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. Pimentón de la Vera Dulce (smoked Spanish paprika mild)
⅛ tsp. black pepper, cracked
Pinch dry yellow mustard
Pinch Kosher salt
1 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
4 hot house tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup red onion, thickly sliced add quartered
6 oz. baby spinach
Note: Three to five days in advance of the meal start pickling your cucumbers.
1. Roll cut the cucumbers into bite-sized pieces.
Tip: For this dish I like to roll-cut the cucumbers. Take a diagonal slice from the cucumber and then roll it a quarter turn. Take a second diagonal cut. The cucumber piece will be wedge-shaped on one side and rounded on the other. This is a more interesting shape that simple round or half moon slices. Continue rolling and cutting until done.
2. Put the cucumbers in a mixing bowl and sprinkle the Kosher salt over the cucumber.
3. Toss to coat the pieces with the salt.
Tip: The salt draws out a lot of the excess liquid that would dilute your pickling sauce.
4. Sweat the cucumbers for 3-4 hours, re-tossing them occasionally.
5. Pour the cucumbers into a large sieve and lightly rinse the excess salt off of the pieces.
6. Drain well and place the cucumbers in a seal-able quart plastic bag.
7. Mix the vinegar, sugar, turmeric, and paprika together.
8. Pour the sauce over the cucumbers, press the air out of the bag, and seal it.
9. Refrigerate the pickling cucumbers for 3-4 days.
Tip: Flip the bag over several times a day, to keep all of the vegetables coated in the sauce.
10. About an hour before your meal, remove the pickles from the refrigerator to warm to room temperature.
11. Put all of the dressing ingredients into a small lidded jar and shake to mix them.
Tip: The mustard is added not for flavor, but because it helps keep the oil and vinegar emulsified.
Note: Re-shake the jar every now and then to keep the dressing mixed.
12. Pout the pickles into a large sieve to drain off the pickling sauce and place them in a mixing bowl.
13. Cut and put the rest of your vegetables in the bowl.
Tip: Tomatoes can be release a fair amount of liquid so add them shortly before serving.
Note: While many people might not de-seed the tomatoes I need to for medical reasons. However, much of the tomato flavor is in the “jelly” surrounding these seeds. I sieved out the jelly and add it to my stew.
. Just before serving, add the spinach and pour the dressing over the salad.
Tip: Spinach bruises and browns very quickly and should be added just before serving.
. Toss to coat and mix the vegetables.
. Serve at room temperature.