Cucumbers have no patience. When they arrive in the greenhouse they arrive in almost biblical quantity. They enjoy but a fleeting window between too small and grotesquely (and inedibly) large. They don’t stay fresh for more than 48 hours once picked. And once they start cropping, there’s no stopping them. The only way to deal with this sort of attitude in a vegetable is to beat it at its own game: eat them. Eat them all. And eat them with relish. Do your worst, cucumbers, we can’t get enough of you.
I think this calls for a quick fire round of fast and simple cucumber recipes that will whip through your glut very pleasurably, don’t you?
Flashier than just a jug of tap water on the dinner table and so refreshing. Thanks to the cafe at Daylesford for this idea.
- 1 cucumber
- 3 sprigs of mint
- 1 litre tap water
Peel long, thin strips of cucumber using a speed peeler or a mandolin slicer if you are feeling reckless about your finger tips. Stuff the mint and the cucumber into a jug and fill the jug with water. Refrigerate overnight ideally, or for at least 2 hours, and serve over ice.
‘Pickled’ cucumber and salmon tartare
Pickling is the obvious solution to a glut of unruly cucumbers. However, so juicy and Summery are they in their fresh state that it seems a shame to drown them in vinegar and lock them in a Kilner jar until all their fresh flavour has forsaken them. Poor cucumber. A quick marinade is a far kinder way to make the most of crunchy, ripe cucumbers and nothing pairs better with lightly pickled cucumber than salmon.
- 1 cucumber
- Moscatel vinegar (or white wine vinegar if you can’t get Moscatel)
- chef’s pinch of sea salt
- sprinkle of caster sugar
- Really really really still flappingly fresh salmon fillet
- 1tsp greek yogurt per person
- lemon juice
- chopped dill
- black pepper
Slice the cucumber very thinly, or peel it into long strips with a speed peeler. Toss them in a splash of vinegar and mix in the sea salt and sugar. Have a taste and adjust the balance of seasoning if necessary. Set aside for between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
Chop the salmon into 1cm cubes (if you’re feeling a bit Michelin, you can cure the salmon overnight in a seasoned crust of salt and sugar, which will make the salmon firmer). Mix gently with the yogurt and add lemon juice, dill and pepper to taste.
To serve, lay the cucumber out on a plate and spoon the salmon mix on top. Don’t serve it with bread, buttered or otherwise, it will make this delicate dish too heavy.
For an altogether fanicer salmon and cucumber recipe, try Simon Hopkinson’s Poached Salmon with Cucumber (lots of it) and set dill cream. If you’ve got time and a tendency to the retro, then you’ll adore it.
Regular readers will know, by now, my preoccupation with gin and tonic. A lot of tosh is talked about gin and the variation of flavours between brands, how lime is better than lemon and so forth. However there is one truth amongst this marketing frippery: the botanical signature of Hendricks gin is distinctly cucumbery. A G&T with cucumber just doesn’t work with any other gin. (And no, I’m not paid by them.)
- Hendricks Gin
- Thinly sliced cucumber
- Good tonic
- Lots of ice
You know the rest. Cheers.