April 17, 2024

Ask A Chef: Lovage’s Jamie Crosby Shares His Recipes for a Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Salad

Recipe: Serves 6 to 8

Q: I had the most fabulous cucumber salad at Lovage the last time I visited Stratford, Ont. I’ve tried to recreate it myself but haven’t had much luck. What’s the secret? — JACKIE, Oakville, Ont.

A: Lovage chef Jamie Crosby (pictured left) combines fresh cucumber with six types of candied seeds, a unique spice mix and seasoned yogurt to create this creamy, sweet and spicy salad. “It’s the candied seeds and spice mix that add complex flavours and make this dish special,” says Jamie. He suggests pairing the salad with braised lamb for a satisfying meal.


Seasoned Yogurt

  • 450 g Greek yogurt
  • Zest 2 lemons
  • 3/4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated

Cucumber Spice Mix (batch)

  • 2 tsp dill seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp whole white peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp sumac

Candied Seeds (batch)

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch chili flakes (optional)

Cucumber Salad

  • Seasoned Yogurt (see above)
  • 3 English cucumbers, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tbsp Cucumber Spice Mix (see above)
  • Dressing (see above)
  • 1/2 cup Candied Seeds (see above)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, picked and washed
  • 1/2 bunch mint, torn


Yield: Jamie Crosby

Make Seasoned Yogurt

  1. In small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Make Cucumber Spice Mix

  1. To large frying pan on high heat add all ingredients except sumac and cook, until toasted. Remove from heat.
  2. Place toasted mix in food processor and coarsely grind, then transfer to medium bowl and combine with sumac. Set aside.

Make Candied Seeds

  1. Clean frying pan, then add all seeds and buckwheat, and cook on high heat, until toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In wide saucepan over high heat, add sugar and water, and stir until sugar dissolves and liquid begins to bubble. Add 1/2 cup of toasted seed mixture and salt, stirring constantly, until water evaporates and surface of seeds turns dry, powdery and just barely golden, around five to 10 minutes.
  3. Pour candied seeds onto baking sheet, spreading evenly to cool. Break up any big clumps and set aside.

Make Dressing

  1. In small mixing bowl, add all ingredients and whisk, until combined. Set aside.

Prepare Cucumbers and Assemble

  1. Spread Seasoned Yogurt onto bottom of serving dish.
  2. In medium mixing bowl, toss cucumbers with Cucumber Spice Mix and Dressing, to taste. Adjust seasoning with salt.
  3. Spread cucumbers on top of yogurt, then sprinkle with Candied Seeds. Top with cilantro and mint.
Author: Alexandra Whyte

Lila Lavereau (Jamie and Danielle's portrait)/Danielle Crosby (salad)