Years back, during a visit from Morocco, my oldest friend whipped this up in my tiny Brooklyn apartment. I was told it is a popular side dish or snack that Moroccans will dig into with their hands – they pick up each delicate eggplant slice, dust it with cumin and salt, and take a bite. It doesn’t need a recipe. Slice an eggplant into rounds, grill (or sauté) until tender and then plate it next to two piles of cumin and salt. Then, it’s every man for himself to season each bite as they wish. Smoky, savory and delicious. Who needs chips?
The bag of avocados had ripened. I didn’t have a room full of hungry people, but it didn’t matter. I dropped all my plans and did what any self respecting person would do. I made guacamole. And, I knew I could experiment a bit with this Mexican staple without worrying about disappointing a purist. I worked with what I could find in the fridge. I had lemons, not limes. Leftover cilantro. A chile pepper. And some greek yogurt… Hmmm.
It was too hot to move, but I thought ahead to later that afternoon when it would still be too hot to move, but we’d be hot and peckish. Wishing for something crisp, refreshing, quenching. Then it hit me. Thanks to my late grandmother, Irene, I had a simple and delicious idea. It was something she would make on hot summer days at the farm in New Hampshire. It was time for Danish cucumber.
It’s all a bit of a blur.
I agreed to prepare some finger foods at a friend and co-worker’s “summer kick-off” / house warming party. In my usual fashion, I wasn’t satisfied with preparing something we already know is brilliantly crowd-pleasing. Although, there was plenty of room for that.