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Kirby Cucumbers

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Illustrations by John Burgoyne  

For pessimists, Labor Day has come to mean the end of summer, but some warm-weather indulgences linger on. One is the bounty of Greenmarket produce, like the workaday cuke, which we tend to take for granted. Another is Rockaway Taco, the seasonal surfer’s shack in Queens. Its chef, Andrew Field, has spent time in Mexico eating street snacks like the cucumbers he serves, doused in lime and sprinkled with chile powder he grinds from scratch. At once hot and cool, the sprightly spears are the perfect season- bridging snack.

Rockaway Taco’s Cucumbers With Chile and Lime

10 dried chiles de árbol (available at most Mexican bodegas, including Zaragoza, 215 Ave. A, nr. 13th St.)
7 dried chiles de guajillo (see source, above)
1 tbs. kosher salt
4 Kirby cucumbers, refrigerated
4 limes

In a coffee grinder, grind the chiles to a powder and place in a bowl. Mix in the salt. (1) Slice the cucumbers lengthwise into eighths, and place in a large bowl. Squeeze the limes over the cucumbers. Add a teaspoon of the chile-salt mixture (save the remainder in a sealed container), and (2) toss well. Let the cucumbers marinate for a couple minutes in the lime juice and chile-salt. Remove the cucumbers from the bowl to a plate. (3) Sprinkle more of the chile-salt powder over the cucumbers, to taste. Serves 4. (Note: According to Field, not drinking the leftover chile-spiked cucumber-lime juice is considered bad luck.)


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