MY FRIEND loves to garden. This year her cucumber crop is particularly abundant, so the produce is already piling up in my kitchen.
I needed to find ways to use them besides relegating them to a green salad.
We have a houseguest staying with us this summer. I asked her what food she was missing from her home in Maryland. She said she missed the cucumber salad her mother makes.
I told her we should see if we could replicate it, especially since I’d never heard of pouring evaporated milk over cucumbers.
Her family recipe came from Germany, where her grandmother is from, but some of the seasonings are not common around here so we did our best to come up with our own version.
This included using Worcestershire and soy sauces in place of a liquid seasoning called Maggi (a flavor enhancer invented in Switzerland in the late 1800s) that we couldn’t get at the store.
I also used up some of the cucumber haul in a melon and cucumber salad with avocado oil, lemon juice, honey and vinegar. Some fresh basil and a little flake finishing salt and fresh ground pepper gave the salad a decadent flavor, perfect for a warm summer day.
Another fun way to use cucumbers is to hollow them out and stuff them. Stuffed cucumbers make for a great finger food at luncheons and cocktail parties.
I made some with albacore tuna, avocado and capers in a mayonnaise dressing with lemon and red wine vinegar and we loved them. They were zesty and easy to throw together for a quick lunch.
Cucumber Melon Salad
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon flake finishing salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Add the cucumber, watermelon and cantaloupe to a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the avocado oil, lemon juice, honey and vinegar to a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over the mixed fruit and add basil. Toss gently to combine. Season with finishing salt and fresh ground pepper before serving.
1 large cucumber
5-ounce can albacore tuna, drained
1 tablespoon capers
1 1/2 tablespoons shallot, chopped
1/2 avocado, peeled and cubed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and trim the ends. Use a spoon to hollow out the centers and remove seeds. Cut cucumber into shorter pieces, if desired.
Combine the tuna, capers, shallot, avocado, lemon juice, mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and parsley in a medium bowl and stir well. ‘Stuff’ cucumbers with tuna mixture and serve.
Cucumber Dill Salad
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Add cucumbers, vinegar and dill to a large bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, add evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
Pour the milk mixture over cucumbers and toss well to combine.
Allow the salad to rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the cucumbers to soften. Season with salt and pepper before serving, if desired.