This recipe adds flavor and crunch in the form of fried garlic slices and toasted seeds and nuts.  A by-product of this recipe is the garlic-flavored oil which you can save and use in a salad dressing or other recipe.  The fried garlic itself will keep for a week at room temperature; you can make extra and use it again later.

Peel and trim 3-5 cloves of garlic.  Slice them lengthwise thinly to get the largest possible slices.

Heat oil in a small skillet — enough to cover the bottom with enough oil that the garlic will “float” just above the surface of the pan.  Arrange the garlic slices in a single layer and cook on medium heat until they become crispy and light brown.  Take care not to burn them as that will make the garlic bitter.  Transfer to a paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Save the now-flavored oil in the pan for another use.

In a different pan or in the toaster oven, dry-toast 1/3 C. sunflower seeds or pepitas.  Separately, toast 1 T. sesame seeds.

Cut 1 Painted Serpent Cucumber in long, thin slices on a bias and then cut them in julienne strips (or use a mandolin to make “noodles”.

Dice 2 tomatoes — you want them to be ripe but not totally soft.

Make a dressing of 3 T. lime juice and 1 T. Thai fish sauce, plus a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes if you like.  Toss with the vegetables to combine, then add the “crunchy stuff”‘, toss again and serve immediately.

Other additions can include fresh basil, mint or cilantro and/or chopped romaine lettuce or cabbage.