Braised vs. Baked Cucumbers à la Julia Childs
We've all seen the movie, read the book or tried cooking one of her recipes before. However, no matter how grand and iconic Julia was in her culinary career, the idea of cooking cucumbers felt odd and soggy to me at first. But who was I to dare doubt her? So I tried it. And, well, YUM.
So on a rainy day at home (where else could you legally be), I tried baking a vegetable I have never considered expanding past a gazpacho or a gin & tonic recipe before. Fine, a cold Thai salad with spicy corn or other cute appetisers, but in the oven, for a whole hour?! Verdict: I would have preferred braising in a skillet over baking, as the baking lasting over an hour made the cucumber soak up the salt a little too much and I felt the refreshing, hydrating vegetable leaving me quite thirsty. But the taste was amazing! So try for yourself- maybe I don't appreciate salt enough!
You will need,
Wine vinegar (1 tbsp- I was out and used rice vinegar, oh quarantine ideas!)
Salt (3/4 tbsp)
Sugar (I used brown, 1 small pinch)
Melted butter (1 1/2 tbsp)
Dill (1/2 tbsp- but we all know I used tons and didn't listen one bit)
Scallion (1, minced)
Black pepper (a small pinch)
Note: as this was intended as a side for a fish dish, I only used one cucumber as not to waste food. Therefore, I have reduced all quantities you will find online by half.
A few steps,
1. Peel the cucumber (I personally did so after it had marinated for 4 hours because of course I forgot).
2. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds. I ate them.
3. Cut in 2,5 inch pieces.
4. In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt and vinegar and toss cucumber pieces while sprinkling black pepper. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes- I let it covered in the fridge for 4 hours.
5. Pat the pieces dry and place in a baking dish with the herbs, scallions and melted butter.
6. Bake for 1 hour at 375. Serve alongside grilled fish or poultry.