I have a couple of friends who don’t eat cucumbers. I KNOW!. But, before you judge, keep in mind that I believe everyone deserves love. And one of them is allergic. They make her mouth itch.
Cucumbers are in season right now where I live so I’m sharing my list of ways to ingest them because we have more than a few and since most of them are Armenian, they are each a couple of feet long.
Cucumber is a great way to perk up water. Slice and add to your glass or a pitcher. It is also nice to add rosemary, citrus fruit and fresh mint.
I had this for the first time this year at our local farmer’s’ market when our pop-up chef Andy Thigpen made it for everyone to sample. The key here is to tread lightly. Cut your cukes into quartered slices, toss with a nice oil and fresh herbs like thyme and oregano and just get them nice and warm over medium heat. They soften a bit and are surprisingly delicious. Salt to taste. (This is also wonderful in a nice veggie stock instead of oil)
Salad with mayo and dill
Cut up cucumbers and toss with a good mayo and fresh dill for a super fast summer salad.
Cukes and tomatoes are ripe at the same time and they belong together. There are several variations on this salad but the base ingredients are cucumbers, tomatoes, balsamic, EVOO, and a fresh herb like basil, which is also in season in summer. Add a hearty bread, cut into cubes and toasted, and you have a bread salad.
Take diced cucumber, a crisp lettuce, frozen or fresh sweet peas, chopped green onion, and a good mayo (if you have a food processor you can make your own with unrefined olive oil in a couple minutes) and layer it all with the mayo somewhere in the middle.
Tzatziki and on falafel
Cucumber is a star in Tzatziki sauce. Blend a greek yogurt or even a heavy sour cream (never buy reduced fat anything. It is disgusting and unhealthy) with garlic, dill and seeded cucumber. Serve it on falafel or a gyro with diced cukes, fresh tomato and red onion.
Just slice it and eat it with hummus. Sooo good.
Seed it and combine with lime juice, mint leaves and ice. Add watermelon for a sweet version. My friend Roger doesn’t like this so for the picky crowd, don’t just seed it but also remove the skin. The key is making sure it is thoroughly blended.
Not just for tea time, these are a nice finger food for a party. Combine cream cheese, a little mayo, a pinch of garlic salt and fresh dill. Spread it on toast or even a nice cracker, add a slice of cucumber and serve chilled.
As a snack on the run
Slice a cucumber, put it in your mouth and chew it. It makes a great snack for when you are on the go. They give you a satisfying crunch and serve as a nice pick-me-up instead of most grab and go foods that leave you tired.
Pickles (cold pack)
Cold packing pickles is the favorite around here. Or you can aim for the healthiest route and get a real fermentation recipe from someone like Sandor Katz. You’ll want to search for a recipe that fits your taste. Some are salty, some are sweet.
The right pickle relish can mean you are seconds from great tartar sauce or minutes from Chicago Dogs, which, if done with high quality meat, are the only acceptable way to eat hot dogs.
Garnish on a Bloody Mary
Cucumbers do not need to be pickled to be a great garnish. Alternate them with giant capers for your next morning gathering.
Add it to your favorite recipe or use as a garnish.
So, this is one of the greatest things in the world.
Cook and cool a cup of quinoa.
Combine it with diced tomatoes, dice onions (the greens and bulbs), a cup of cooked and cooled or canned garbanzo beans, a large handful of parsley, chopped, a small bunch of chopped mint leaves, two minced cloves of garlic, a good toss of olive oil, ½ cup of lemon juice, and salt if you want it.
Serve this with hummus and welcome to heaven.
Still staring at a basket of cukes? Try these recipe collections:
Happy eating, Katy