The story goes that Dr. Lo was coming home to Queens, New York City, from a 20-hour shift and stopped in at the restaurant Spy C looking for good, comforting Chinese food. When he bit into this spicy salad, he asked to meet the chef.
A friendship was immediately born, as Dr. Lo once worked as a chef alongside such luminaries as Wylie Dufresne, Mark Ladner, Adam Leonti and Alex Lee. Word soon spread about Spy C and Chef Lei’s fabulous flavors, and today, Dr. Lo and Chef Lei are partners in business at Spy C and a second restaurant called Chi.
Besides life-changing Szechuan cucumber salad, Spy C and Chi serve delicious hot and cold dishes, including poached chicken with chili sauce, deep fried tendon with caviar inspired by Wylie Dufresne, and mortar and pestle smashed eggplant and peppers; itself an homage to one of Dr. Tom’s childhood favorites.
Still, it’s this Szechuan cucumber salad that all made it happen, and the best friends are excited to share the dish with you, step-by-step below.
For those who have never tried Szechuan peppers before, be aware these classic Chinese spice additives bring their own unique tingly sensation. It’s different from any other spice you’ve enjoyed, and mixed with the refreshing brightness of cucumber, it is sure to linger and inspire.
Give this recipe a try for your next picnic gathering or warm summer eve, and see what it brings into your life!
Szechuan Cucumber Salad
2 medium cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and chopped into 2-inch chunks
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
1½ tbsp salt
4 tsp chili oil
2 tsp Szechuan peppercorn oil
1 tbsp cilantro, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Combine soy sauce, sugar, Chinese black vinegar and salt together. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add chili oil and Szechuan peppercorn oil to finish the vinaigrette
Toss the cucumbers with garlic and cilantro.
Add enough of the vinaigrette to coat the cucumbers completely.
Serve and enjoy.
Visit Spy C and Chi in NYC and online for more delicious dishes and inspiration.