Food, Home & Lifestyle

Veggie Spread: Smacked Cucumber Salad With Sumac-Pickled Onions

Yotam Ottolenghi

Lesson time 13:58 min

Discover an old standard of shawarma shops: sumac onions. Learn how to make this simple but versatile condiment, which complements the cucumber salad recipe. Don’t be afraid to play with your vegetables!

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Topics include: Sumac-Pickled Onions • Smacked Cucumber Salad • Play With Your Vegetables


[00:00:00.49] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:20.16] - I'm going to make a smacked cucumber salad with sumac onion and parsley oil. Before I do that, I'm going to make some sumac onions. [00:00:30.52] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:35.37] Sumac onions is something that goes back a long way for me. And when I think about it, I think a shawarma stand in Jerusalem or anywhere around the Middle East, where one of the condiments is these brightly red onions. And the reason why they're so brightly red is because of sumac, which is this wonderful powder, which is made out of dried berries of the sumac trees. And it's really, really acidic, very sharp. It's wonderful to eat. And when you massage it into the onions, they go all sharp and acidic. But they also go vibrant red. And that's the attraction. [00:01:11.69] So when you eat something rich, the sumac breaks into it. It's very effective, very potent. So I've got some sliced red onion. And I'm going to add quite a lot of sumac to it. I'm going to add a pinch of salt, or a little bit more than a pinch, to break down the onions and quite a bit of lemon juice. And this condiment is a great thing to have. If you were looking for a cooling condiment for Middle East foods, for kebabs, for shawarma, for all those things that really need a bit of cooling and you don't want to add yogurt or anything like that, that's what you have. It's got that sharpness and acidity that cuts into rich dishes, both starchy and meaty. [00:02:06.53] And now it's about massaging. So I'm going to put my hand in there and really get that sumac into the onion. And I do two things. I break the onion a bit with my hand and I get the salt and the lemon juice and the sumac into it. So it's a little bit rough. It's a little bit messy. But it's essential, and I hope you can see how the onion transforms as I do it. The white bits go as pink as the pink bits. So it's a red onion that turns totally red as I do this. [00:02:42.90] That as far as it goes-- I mean, you don't need to cook or do anything with it. You can put it in a jar in the fridge and keep it for a few days. You can use it straight away. And I think it looks marvelous. So it can go on roasted chicken, and it can go on your kabob. It can go on your rice with very roasted vegetables, anything really that needs a little bit of acidity, a bit of sharpness and some onion. And the onion will not be harsh. It looks like a lot of onion. But once you've had all that sumac on it and the lemon, it's pickled and it's much less harsh than when you start off with. I'm going to use these lovely pickled onions with my cucumber salad. [00:03:24.12] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:03:30.00] Cucumbers have this incredible grassy flavor. And because they've got a high water content, they're quite refreshing. And that's why we love cucumbers and all our chopped salad all over the Mediterranean. It's all about that freshness. And this is what we're really trying to capture here. So I'm going to do my cucumbers. So the...

About the Instructor

One of the most influential chefs working today, Yotam Ottolenghi creates dishes that layer color and flavor for maximum impact. Now the James Beard Award winner teaches you simple steps for making and mixing Middle Eastern–inspired recipes. Learn how to make generous platters—mezze and brunch spreads to homemade condiments, stunning stand-alones, and delicious vegetables—so you can entertain with ease.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Yotam Ottolenghi

James Beard Award–winning chef Yotam Ottolenghi teaches you his recipes for delicious Middle Eastern platters layered with color and flavor.

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