Every week on the Good Food blog, we celebrate Meatless Monday by sharing a vegetarian recipe from our archives.
Concombres Au Beurre (Baked Cucumbers)
If the natural moisture content is not withdrawn beforehand, cucumbers exude so much water as they are heated that you usually end up with a tasteless mush and swear never to attempt cooked cucumbers again. Blanching for 5 minutes before cooking will remove unwanted water, but also most of the cucumber flavor. A preliminary sojourn in salt draws out the water and also the bitterness, if they are of the bitter European type, yet leaves the flavor, which a little vinegar and a pinch of sugar accentuates. We have found the following method delicious, and suggest it for all cooked cucumber recipes. Baked cucumbers go with roast, broiled, or saut-ed chicken, roast veal, veal chops or scallops, and saut-ed brains or sweetbreads.
6 cucumbers about 8 inches long
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 tsp dill or basil
3 to 4 Tablespoons minced green onions
1/8 tsp pepper
Peel the cucumbers. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into lengthwise strips about 3/8 inch wide. Cut the strips into 2 inch pieces.
Toss the cucumbers in a 2 1/2 -quart porcelain or stainless steel bowl with the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes or for several hours. Drain. Pat dry in a towel.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a baking dish 12 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches deep, toss the cucumbers with the butter, herbs, onions, and pepper. Set uncovered in middle level of the preheated oven for about 1 hour, tossing 2 or 3 times, until cucumbers are tender but still have a suggestion of crispness and texture. They will barely color during the cooking.
See Mastering the Art of French Cooking for variations such as Parslied Cucumbers, Creamed Cucumbers, Creamed Cucumbers with Mushrooms, and Cucumbers with Cheese Sauce.
-1961 Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck, Alfred A. Knopf.