Almost Greek Salad with Pickled Cucumber

I love pickled cucumber, useful in salads and sandwiches.  My favourite quick way of making it, is peeling, splitting and scraping out the seeds of half a cucumber, then slicing across the halves in skinny half moons. I then lay the pieces out on a plate and splash with cider or white wine vinegar. It’s ready in a few minutes but could be decanted into a jam jar and will stay good in the fridge for a couple of days. It could, too, if you wish, be sweetened with a hint of white sugar dissolved in the vinegar and flavoured with, say, chopped dill or scraps of chilli. Its crunch without weeping is good in this take on Greek salad-meets-salade Nicoise. Shredded crisp lettuce, lightly boiled fine green beans, finely sliced spring onion, halved cherry tomatoes all tossed in a simple olive oil and lemon dressing. If I’d had a few black olives I would have added them too and it could have had chunks of tuna or hard-boiled egg instead of slabs of feta. Very good with garlicky bruschetta.

Serves 2

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 5 min

½ cucumber

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

100g fine green beans

4 spring onions

1 Cos lettuce heart

1 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil

6 cherry tomatoes

1 tbsp chopped mint, coriander, flat leaf parsley or basil

100g Greek feta cheese

      Use a potato peeler to peel the cucumber, split lengthways and use a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds and watery surround. Spread out on a plate or shallow dish and splash then agitate so all the pieces are covered. Leave while you complete the salad. Top and tail and halve the beans. Drop into boiling salted water and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and splash with cold water to quickly cool down and arrest cooking. Trim and finely slice the spring onions. Shred then wash the lettuce. Whisk the lemon juice into 2 tbsp olive oil in a salad bowl until thick and creamy. Fold in the spring onion. Add beans, lettuce, halved tomatoes and most of the herbs. Toss, top with slabs of feta, last of the herbs and splash with remaining olive oil. That’s it.