Cucumber Peanut Salad

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3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick crescents (about 4 cups)
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar or white vinegar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 to 2 tsp. seeded, minced fresh chili pepper (optional)
1/2 cup crushed roasted peanuts (or more, to taste)

• Stir together the cucumbers and salt and place in a colander. Let drain for up to 15 minutes. Rinse the cucumbers well and drain again.
• Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved.
• When the cucumbers have been drained, heat the oil in a small saucepan. Once hot, add the fennel seeds and chili, if using. To avoid scorching, remove from the heat and swirl for about 30 seconds, then continue to cook over low heat for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and set aside.
• Transfer the cucumbers to a large, shallow serving bowl and pour the hot seasoned oil on top, tossing well. Stir in the vinegar mixture. Set aside at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving.
• Serve at room temperature or chilled. Top with the crushed peanuts just before serving.

Makes 4 servings

From Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, copyright © 2001, Moosewood, Inc., Clarkson Potter, New York.

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