Smashed Cucumber Salad with Pummelo and Thai Herbs

Chef Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa Valley, CA

Number of servings


  • 2 pounds English or Persian cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 0.5 Minneola tangelo, freshly squeezed for juice
  • 0.5 Meyer lemon, freshly squeezed for juice
  • 1 lime, freshly squeezed for juice
  • 0.5 pummelo, peeled, pith removed, separated into segments discarding the membrane, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 sprig Thai basil, leaves only
  • 2 sprigs mint, leaves only
  • 2 sprigs cilantro, leaves only
  • salt


  1. Rinse cucumbers. Cut crosswise into pieces about 4" long. Cut each piece in half lengthwise.
  2. Lay the blade of a large knife flat on top of the cucumber and smash down lightly with your other hand. The skin will begin to crack, the flesh will break down and the seeds will separate. Repeat until the whole piece is smashed. Break or slice diagonally into bite-size pieces, leaving the seeds behind.
  3. Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer and toss with a big pinch of salt and a big pinch of sugar. Let drain, refrigerated, 15-30 minutes.
  4. Mix the remaining salt and sugar, and citrus juices. Stir in the sesame oil and soy sauce to make a dressing.
  5. Shake the cucumbers well to drain any remaining liquid, place in a large bowl, and drizzle with the canola or extra virgin olive oil. Add half the dressing, half the garlic and the red pepper flakes to taste, and toss. Keep adding dressing until cucumbers are well coated but not drowned. Add more pepper flakes to taste, and garlic if needed. Add the pummelo segments and toss well. Arrange in a chilled serving bowl. Tear the herb leaves into smaller pieces and sprinkle liberally over the cucumber salad before serving.