The seasoning medley distinguishes the pairing of fresh cucumbers with tomatoes in this chopped and sliced salad recipe from Czech cuisine. Salad of Chopped Tomatoes with Sliced Cucumbers (nakrájená rajčata a salátová okurka) displays Czech culinary artistry through nuanced seasoning of two basic, prolific garden plants: cucumbers and tomatoes.
Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) numbers among the quartet of seasonings. The flavorful herb contributes a distinctive aroma to European -- especially Mediterranean -- cuisine. My family retains the leaf, after cooking, for the salad dressing. We either:
- crush it close to the end of the simmer or
- allow the leaf to crumble naturally during the toss.
Those who enjoy the flavoring imparted by bay leaves during cooking but prefer not to consume the leaf may:
- refrain from crushing during the simmer and
- remove whole leaf from cooled seasoning mixture, prior to the toss.
In summer, my family often extracts the whole leaf after cooling for placement in a high mosquito traffic area. The herb contains cineol, a compound which is a natural insect repellent. Crumbling intensifies the compound's release.