“You may not typically serve your cucumbers bruised, but intentionally smashing them releases their flavorful juices. Taking the time to soak the walnuts for this dish gives them a special soft texture and plumpness. Serve this vegetable dish with pita as part of a mezze platter or as a side salad.”
1 cup walnuts
1 pound mini (Persian) cucumbers, sliced
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground pepper
3 cups whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons butter
1Place walnuts in a bowl and add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Soak for 5 hours at room temperature. Rinse, add fresh water to cover by 1 inch and refrigerate overnight. Drain, pat dry and coarsely chop.
2Using a potato masher, mash cucumbers with ¼ teaspoon salt until juicy. Drain in a colander for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon basil, oil, garlic, lemon zest, pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
3Whisk yogurt in a large bowl until smooth and spread onto a serving platter. Top with the cucumber mixture and the walnuts.
4Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat until beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and drizzle over the cucumbers. Serve topped with the remaining 1 tablespoon basil.