This colorful refreshing salad is called Salad Shirazi, which is a Persian cucumber and tomato salad. Shirazi means from Shiraz, which is a beautiful city in southwestern Iran. It is the capital of Fars Province with friendly people, impressive historic sites and enchanting flower gardens. Among the many historic monuments in Shiraz frequented by tourists, are the memorials built for the two of the most famous Iranian poets, Hafez and Sadi whose books of poems are found in most Persian households and are translated to different languages.
Salad Shirazi is different from your ordinary salads. It is almost always served as a side salad. It has a citrusy mild flavored dressing that complements the main course without being too filling. I usually use Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers for this salad. Both of these varieties have very little seeds and skin so delicate that no peeling is needed.
However if I have to use regular cucumbers that have tougher skin and more seeds, I would peel and deseed them before dicing.
Salad Shirazi is served in most dinner parties and some restaurants in Iran. These days some restaurants have moved on to more elaborate salads that include more ingredients than just the few that are used in this salad, but this is an all-time favorite addition to most meals.
- 3 small Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber, unpeeled
- 3 ripe, firm Roma tomatoes
- ¼ medium red onion
- 2 TBSP thinly sliced sweet or hot green pepper (no seeds)
- 3 TBSP roughly chopped fresh cilantro (may also use fresh parsley, dill, or mint instead)
- ⅓ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- ¼ tsp fine lime zest
- 3 TBSP fresh squeezed lime juice (about one medium lime)
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- Dice the cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion into small cubes. Add to a medium bowl.
- Remove the seeds from the green pepper and slice very thin. Add to the bowl.
- Add the chopped cilantro.
- In a small bowl use a whisk to combine the lime juice, lime zest, salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Add to the salad ingredients. Toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.
UPDATE: For a delicious change try substituting fresh shallots for the red onions in this recipe and see which one you like better.