June 23, 2015 - Radio Kitchen - Cucumbers
One food that we are finding in abundance these days is one of the most modest: the cucumber. The flavor of a cucumber is so mild that it could stand duty as a metaphor for a quiet, unobtrusive demeanor. But as is so often the case, the simple little ingredients of life serve as an essential backdrop for the more
flashy components of a dish. Here are a few ideas that will make use of our Maryland cucumbers.
Cucumber Salad with Spring Radishes
2 whole cucumbers, peeled
1 cup assorted spring radishes, tops saved, bottoms cleaned and diced
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon shallot, diced
½ cup salad oil
Salt and white pepper to taste
Edible flowers for garnish
Using a mandolin set with the 4mm julienne blade, run the cucumber lengthwise to make spaghetti-like strands. Go only as far as the seeds then turn the cucumber 90 degrees. Continue until you’ve gone around four times.
In a bowl add the tarragon, vinegar, Dijon and shallot. Whisk together until combined. While whisking, add the oil in a slow, steady stream to form a creamy dressing.
Place the cucumber strands in a bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of dressing.
Decoratively arrange the radish tops on four chilled plates.
Place a 3 inch ring mold on top of the radish tops in the center of the plate. Arrange ¼ of the cucumber in the mold and remove the mold leaving a column of cucumber. Repeat with the other three plates.
Spoon some dressing around the outside of the cucumbers and sprinkle ¼ of the radishes on each plate.
Top the cucumbers with edible flowers and serve.
8 pickling cucumbers
¼ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
1 tbls whole mustard seed
1 tbls whole coriander seed
1 tbls whole fennel seed
1 tbls whole black pepper corn
1 tbls whole white pepper
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup plus 3 tbls Kosher Salt
¼ cup sugar
1 cup champagne vinegar (or similar)
Brine the cucumbers
• Dissolve ½ cup of salt with 8 cups cold water
• Soak the cucumbers in the brine solution for four hours.
• Rinse them off in cold water.
Pickling the cucumbers
• Combine the vinegar with 2 cups water in a sauce pan. Add all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
• Pack the cucumbers into a container with a lid large enough to hold them.
• Pour the pickling liquid over the cucumbers , cover and place in the refrigerator.
• Allow to pickle for at least seven days.