Round Cucumber & Tomato Salad and Simple Oven-Roasted Codfish Fillet with Soy Sauce

While at a fruit & vegetable market in Sicily, I chanced upon some fruit & vegetables I've never seen before.  One of these curious produce is the round cucumber, which, according to the vendor & my husband's relatives, has a more pleasant taste compared to its cousins, the regular one we all recognize as regular cucumber and another variety I was checking out that's longer, thinner and darker.  Mentally assessing my luggage, the round ones immediately gained space in my already bloating third suitcase.   What is a kilo more of round gourds anyway?  I made sure they are not available in Rome or I would feel so foolish to be lugging around some vegetables fruit that can be found where I live.   Uhhmm, I just found out that tomatoes & cucumbers are actually fruits but mistakenly referred to as vegetables by the majority, like me.

Traveling with produce in the handcarry luggage reminded me of a trip I did once to Luanda, Angola with my mom & sister.  They had an unorthodox way of welcoming arriving travelers by ruffling through the handcarry luggage one by one after going through immigration control.  And they also take time in each bag if and whenever they deem necessary amusing.  Queuing for our turn, the customs officer was having the time of his life humiliating the owner of a bag with an onion, tomato & garlic in it by showing everyone the vegetables like show & tell time.  Being young, this episode etched its mark to my memory.  Not that this kind of behavior is acceptable anyway but everytime I put a fresh produce in my bag, my mind travels back to memory lane. 

My round cucumbers and I went through a rather dull arrival in the airport of Rome.   I prepared a cucumber and tomato salad that I paired with oven-roasted breaded fish fillet with calamansi (calamondin) & soy sauce.  It's a fresh & simple combination that is so perfect on hot days.  Well, if you discount the cooking in the oven part.  Let me get back to the calamansi.  It's a kind of lemon that is small at about an inch in diameter.   It is indigenous in the Philippines and staple in most sauces.  I have 4 thriving plants that yield fruit continuously.   It blends perfectly with soy sauce or fish sauce.  It can also be prepared as a refreshing drink which I will be making soon because all the plants are presently laden with fast maturing fruit.

Round Cucumber & Tomato Salad

Serves 4
  • 3 round cucumbers, diced (or regular cucumbers)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • chives, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil  
  1. Mix all solid ingredients together in a bowl.   
  2. Mix all the liquids in a separate bowl.  Season with salt & pepper.  Mix well.
  3. Pour sauce on the salad.  Mix.  Serve cold. 

Simple Oven-Roasted Codfish Fillet with Soy Sauce

Serves 4
  • 4 codfish fillets
  • breadcrumbs
  • salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • calamansi (or regular lemon)
  1. Rinse and pat dry the fillets with kichen paper towels.  
  2. Covered them with breadcrumbs on both sides.  
  3. Sprinkle a bit of salt then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  
  4. Put them in an oiled baking pan and roast in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celcius for half an hour.   Put it at the grill position, not the baking position, because they will become soggy.  
  5. The sauce was just a combination of calamansi and soy sauce, adjusted according to my taste so I am not giving proportions.  When the fish fillet is cooked, put some sauce on top.