By Lucinda Hutson
Makes 3 cups
Any combination of fresh dill, mint, and/or salad burnet gives extra flavor to this refreshing salsa speckled with cucumbers, artichoke hearts, shallots, red onions, and mustard seeds. Try it on baguette slices with Roma tomato or crunchy cucumber; crumble some feta on it if desired.
• 2 medium cucumbers, peeled
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons minced shallots
• 2 to 3 chopped serrano chiles
• 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
• One 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
• 1 1/2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or salad burnet
• 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (preferably herb-flavored)
• 2 to 3 teaspoons olive oil, if desired
• Fresh lemon juice to taste
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Fresh chive blossoms, nasturtium flowers, borage flowers, marigold flowers, dill sprigs, salad burnet sprigs, or feta cubes for garnish, if desired
1. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Chop cucumber halves into 1/4-inch cubes; sprinkle with salt. Place cubes in a colander and drain for 10 minutes to remove any bitterness and excess moisture. Mix the shallots, serranos, red onions, and artichoke hearts together in a bowl and add the cucumbers. Sprinkle with the mustard seeds and sugar. Top with fresh chopped herbs and allow to chill. Add the vinegar, oil, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with any combination of the above herbs, flowers, and cheese.
Lucinda Hutson writes and gardens from her home in Austin, Texas. She has written The Herb Garden Cookbook (Gulf Publishing Company, 1998), and her articles on food and gardening appear in many publications. You can order her book by writing Lucinda Hutson, PO Box 300607, Austin, TX 78703 or on her website at www.onr.com/user/lucinda.
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