by Marta Szumiata
on July 13, 2020

Refreshing salad with cucumber and pickled elderflower

In the summer, as temperatures reach their peak, heavy dishes loaded with fatty sauces don’t sound quite as appealing. It’s the perfect time, however, for refreshing vegetables and greeny fresh herbs. When you’re ready for a light salad, we can’t suggest this recipe enough from Sebastian Sandor, the chef of Heritage, located in the heart of charming Ghent.

The marriage of cucumber and green peas is not accidental. These two vegetables have more in common than most realize, sharing a green grassy hexanal that’s also found in elderflower. Cooked pea and elderflower are an even better pairing, thanks nonanal and octanal that bring green fatty aromas with an orange undertone. Limonene is also present, offering a citrus lemon-y note with an herbal nuance. And don’t throw those pea shells away—they enhance the rich green pea notes and reduce food waste. Sebastian’s not a big fan of soft fluffy creams, velvety sauces, or delicate gels, but he does enjoy Marinating the cucumber to soften it slightly, creating contrast with the extra crispy and crunchy nature of the dish. Since he appreciates color harmony on the plate, nearly all the ingredients are a bright, fresh green.

Pickled elderflower

ingredients

  • 100 g elderflower
  • 200 g water
  • 120 g white wine vinegar
  • 80 g caster sugar

preparation

Mix and heat the water, vinegar, and sugar until the sugar dissolves, then put the mixture in the fridge to cool down. Add elderflowers, then vacuum seal and keep cool. It will be ready to use after 5 days. You can keep it up to 4 months.

Fermented cucumber juice

ingredients

  • 1 L cucumber juice
  • 20 g salt
  • 10 g mint
  • 40 g horseradish
  • 2 g black pepper
  • Peel of 1 lime

preparation

Vacuum seal everything together and keep at 34ºC for 4 days. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Peashell / cucumber jus

ingredients

  • 50 g juice from the shells of the peas
  • 50 g fermented cucumber juice
  • 0.1 g xanthan
  • 5 g pickled elderflower

preparation

Mix together without incorporating air.

Apple gel

ingredients

  • 400 g apple juice
  • 200 g rice vinegar
  • 60 g sugar
  • 50 g lemon juice
  • 200 g water
  • 6 g salt
  • 10 g agar agar
  • 5 g gelan

preparation

Boil all ingredients together while whisking continuously. Let cool it down, then keep whisking to obtain a fine gel.

Cucumber pea salad

ingredients

  • 50 g cucumber brunoise
  • 35 g shortly blanched peas
  • 10 g finely sliced sugar snaps
  • 2 g finely cut mint
  • 15 g apple gel
  • 10 g pickled elderflower
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

preparation

Mix all the ingredients.

Assembling

Add 2 spoons of the nicely seasoned salad in the middle of a deep plate, cover completely with the marinated cucumber slices, and put a little fleur de sel on top. Garnish with the pickled elderflower, mint, lemon balm, pea shoots, and wild pea flowers. Finally, add two big spoons of the jus.

by Marta Szumiata
A confectioner, food technologist and culinary reenactor. Loving food, Marta is still exploring culinary world looking for new inspirations and bewildering dishes. She likes to try her created recipes on her family and friends, especially fermented ones

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