For the current installment of Cook the Books, we are reading Funny in Farsi, a recounting of an Iranian girl’s immersion into American culture – SOCAL style. As a lifelong East Coaster, California seems to be a world unto itself, so I could relate to the author’s lighthearted stories of her bewildered encounters with California traditions.
Most of all, I enjoyed her stories about family food traditions. I loved her depiction of the Persian kitchen, marked by the constant desire to feed the people you love, whether they are hungry or not.
Reading the book inspired me to explore Persian food, a cuisine that was largely unknown to me. Her stories of being fed by an army of aunts and cousins re-introduced me to mouthwatering dishes such as steaming basmati rice, long-braised meats, kebobs and yogurt marinades.
While most of the dishes she described are what one would call comfort food, at the start of the Mid-Atlantic summer season I am really hungry for garden fresh ingredients. So the dish I am presenting today is a salad from the city of Shiraz, which is made with tomatoes and cucumbers, covered in a light dressing of lime juice and olive oil, flecked with mint.
Tomato Cucumber Salad
1 lime, juice of
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 Persian or English cucumbers, quartered
1 medium red onion, diced
1 tbs mint, diced
In a jar, combine dressing ingredients.
In a salad bowl, combine salad ingredients.
Add dressing and toss.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.