Monday, July 25, 2011

My cucumber plant is putting out more than I consume. Please help!!

Similar to radishes, cucumbers suffer a fate limited by connotation. That connotation is that cucumbers are only good cold, but I happen to love cucumbers simply sauteed.  However, because it's such a unique vegetable (or fruit, depending on your profession) you need to keep a few simple, but key, tricks in mind.
  1. The pan needs to be screaming hot. If it's not, the cucumbers will just wilt and release a bunch of water.  Even at such a high heat, minimal browning will occur.  
  2. You cant add any salt until the end,  as it will cause your cukes to release too much water before they're ready. 
Over looking either of these rules will leave you with soft, mushy, wet cucumbers . . not very appetizing.

It's also important to have everything ready for this recipe because once you start it happens quickly.

Simply Sauteed Cucumbers
I like oblong shapes for this recipe because it yields variance in texture.

6-8 Cucumber with little to no seeds (if you're using bigger cukes, remove the seeds), cut into 1/2" coins or oblong shapes.
2 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Juice and zest of one lemon
optional: a healthy pinch of chili flakes

1. Place your heaviest skillet, ideally cast iron or black steel, on high heat for at least 5 minutes.  It should turn a light color from the extreme heat.
2.  Toss your cucumber pieces in a little vegetable oil and throw directly into the pan. Begin to stir or toss immediately.  DO NOT PUT SALT at this stage.
3. Once the edges have begun to visibly soften, about a minute or so, add the garlic and lemon zest, continuing to stir quickly.
4. After 30-45 seconds more, add a good pinch of salt (I like coarse salt for this), the lemon juice and the chili flakes if you're using them.

Enjoy immediately!  These were gobbled up before I could even try one.
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