Acclaimed chef Andrew McConnell recently became the owner of his first vegetable garden, and has been seriously bitten by the gardening bug. Rather than use it to try and supply his restaurants though, he’s using his patch of dirt as a way to relax and to experiment with new flavours.
The Marinated Cucumber with Lemon Verbena Vinegar dish that Andrew shares today is one such recipe – inspired by an excess of flowers thriving in his garden.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this salad – the delicate balance of unexpected flavours makes for a surprisingly more-ish dish!
This recipe came about when I had an excess of verbena growing in the garden. Verbena is an easy and somewhat hardy shrub to grow.
I experimented with everything and made vinegars, oils, sorbets, ice creams and iced teas. I found the verbena vinegar to be most delicious, and so came up with this unexpected take on the Greek salad. The cool cucumber and feta combination makes this the perfect lunch dish!
Ingrediens (Serves 4)
- 100ml cider vinegar
- 100ml water
- 25 lemon verbena leaves, torn
- 500g piece Armenian cucumber or large Lebanese cucumber
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp barrel aged feta
- Small handful dill or fennel flowers
In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, water and verbena leaves to the boil and simmer for one minute.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Leave the mixture to infuse for 15 minutes then strain the vinegar, discard the leaves and set the vinegar aside until needed.
Peel and seed the cucumber and slice it thinly. In a bowl, toss the cucumber with the salt and sugar and leave it to marinate for five minutes.
Lift the cucumber out of any liquid it may have given off and pile it gently on a serving dish.
Spoon some verbena vinegar over the top of the cucumbers, letting it puddle around them, crumble over the feta and finish the salad with dill flowers.