Habib's Tunisian salad

My French-Tunisian friend Habib Loriot-Bettaieb made this vibrant, mint-kissed salad for Cooks Without Borders at a wonderful Night in Tunisia at his Dallas home. Habib used English cucumbers and peeled them; I used unpeeled Persian cukes for some great crunch and color. I followed Habib's lead in using Roma tomatoes, which I think was the right choice. Once we come into prime tomato season, I'd substitute ripe heirlooms other other great vine-ripened tomatoes. You can dice all three vegetables in advance, but Habib advises not combining them until you're nearly ready to serve the salad, so the cucumbers stay crisp. If you like, serve them on romaine leaves – it's nice to be able to pick up a whole leaf and eat it with the salad.

Serves 6.

Half a large onion, diced

6 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice

6 Persian or 1 1/2 English hothouse cucumbers, left unpeeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 1/2 teaspoons dried mint

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch or two of red pepper flakes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Romaine leaves for serving (optional)

Combine the onion, tomatoes, cucumbers in a large bowl with the mint, salt, Aleppo pepper and olive oil. Toss well to combine, and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or red pepper to taste if necessary. Serve as is or on romaine leaves.