Friday, December 7, 2012

Baked Herbed Cucumber Recipe

If you think the concept of cooked cucumbers sounds weird, don't worry, you're not the only one. I thought so too, at first, but then I learned that cucumbers are often eaten cooked around the globe! Julia Child even has a recipe for baked  cucumber, which is what I based this recipe on.

Cooking cucumbers in this method leaves you with cucumbers that have the texture of pickles- my kids like to call them "hot pickles".

The reason I like to make this recipe is because we don't go through raw cucumbers fast enough in my house, and I often get them free when they're almost wilting, so I often have limp and wilted cucumbers to work with. While gazpacho and Korean cucumber soup and marinated cucumbers are good things to do even with wilted cucumbers, in the winter I often prefer hot dishes, which is where baking the cucumbers comes in. Cooking cucumbers offers them a new lease at life; if they were one step away from spoiling when raw, they'll last at least another few days, perhaps longer, if cooked.

This recipe isn't an exact recipe, it's more a cooking suggestion; feel free to play around with the proportions of the cucumbers and other ingredients; it'll be good no matter what.

1. Take your cucumbers and cut them into spears. Depending on the thickness of the cucumber, you can cut them into 8ths or smaller, lengthwise. If very long, cut them at 3-4 inch intervals. Apparently you're supposed to de-seed your cucumbers, but the cucumbers here are smaller, so I don't de-seed. Only de-seed them if you think it's necessary.

2. Salt the cucumbers. I usually put a tablespoon or so of coarse salt on a large mixing bowl filled with cucumber spears. Let sit for 30 minutes.

3. Pour off the water that accumulates at the bottom of the container.

4. Add a little glug of oil and a little bit of lemon juice onto the cucumbers.

5. Add some spices like garlic powder, dill, parsley, oregano, or any other herb.

6. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, mixing occasionally.

Serve either hot or cold.

Have you ever eaten cooked cucumbers? Does this look like something you'd try out?

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