Tajin cucumber salad

I would be happy eating cucumbers every night simply with a splash of olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice, and pinch of sea salt. A while ago, though, on a sort of Mexican-themed night (which also included my favorite mineral water, Topo Chico, and platanos), I decided to take a little bit of absolutely no extra effort to change it up a bit with a sprinkle of Tajin.

Do you know Tajin? This is the all-in-one seasoning used by fruit vendors on the streets of Mexico (and the Mission District in San Francisco) on mangoes, cucumbers, watermelon, jicama, and more and has been recently having a moment (see this article in the New York Times: Tajin Is a Lifestyle). It’s a simple and short ingredient list: dried granulated chiles (a combination of chiles de árbol, guajillo, and pasilla), dehydrated lime, and salt. You could replicate it with spices you might already have in your pantry, but it’s this particular combination of chiles, for me, that makes Tajin Tajin. Plus it has just the right balance of chiles to lime to salt, so it’s truly a no-brainer. It’s also more flavorful than spicy — suitable for children! And if you really like it, I’ve seen it being sold in individual-size mini bottles you can carry with you.

The recipe is really a non-recipe, but I’ve written it up in case you’d like instructions. The most important part for me is the plating. Isn’t it pretty?

Servings: 4, as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber (standard, not seedless, for best flavor and texture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tajin seasoning, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, to taste

Directions

  1. Peel cucumber and slice into 1/4-inch thick discs.
  2. This is the important part: Arrange cucumber slices attractively on a plate. To replicate the salad pictured, start on the outside of your plate, and as you go around the edge of the plate, overlap the edge of each slice on top of the preceding slice, and continue by making a series of smaller circles clockwise, until you have filled the plate.
  3. Next, add Tajin to taste. To make sure you evenly scatter Tajin, work from about 6 inches above the plate and sprinkle lightly and evenly.
  4. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 30
  • Total fat: 2.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g
  • Sodium: 95 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 2 g
  • Dietary fiber: 0 g
  • Sugars: 1 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Contributor

Linda Shiue, MD

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