What happens when you roast a lemon? It morphs from a fruit that's impossibly sour, to one that's improbably sweet. Squeeze the juice from that sweet lemon and blend it with bright, fresh herbs and fruity olive oil, and you create a salad dressing that's a little bit magical. For this simple salad, I sliced a seedless English cucumber into paper-thin slices on the mandoline, drizzled it with the dressing, and let it sit for 15 minutes so some of the dressing seeped into the cucumber. Try this with zucchini, or beets, or thin slices of boiled potato, or nectarines. I had some dressing left over, and slathered it on grilled salmon -- and yes, it was perfect.
Cucumber salad with roasted lemon, mint and basil dressing
From the pantry, you'll need: lemons, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar or honey, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.
For the dressing:
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp agave nectar or honey, or to taste
2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil
1 tsp roughly chopped fresh mint
Pinch each of kosher salt and fresh black pepper
For the salad:
1 large seedless (English) cucumber
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut the lemon into quarters, and place cut side up in the baking dish. Roast for 12-14 minutes, until the edges of the lemon wedges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for a couple of minutes.
Using a mandoline, or a very sharp knife, slice the cucumber into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices on a platter.
Into a small food processor or blender, squeeze the juice from the roasted lemon quarters. Add the remaining ingredients for the dressing, adjusting with more agave or honey, salt, and pepper to taste.
Pour the dressing over the cucumber. Let the salad sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. Don't let it sit longer, or the salt in the dressing will begin to draw the liquid out of the cucumber, and you'll have a watery salad.
More salads with lemon in the dressing:
Composed salad with lemon-yogurt dressing
Salmon and greens salad with buttermilk lemon-thyme dressing
Chickpea, quinoa and spinach salad with preserved lemon vinaigrette
Lemon-caper broccoli slaw salad
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Whipped ricotta with lemon and olive oil, from Joy the Baker
Lemony olive oil banana bread, from 101 Cookbooks
Lemon olive oil pound cake, from A Cozy Kitchen
Caramelized Brussels sprouts with lemon and olive oil, from The Naptime Chef
Greek style roasted potatoes, from Copykat.com
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