Cucumbers Three Ways – Dani Valent

Cucumbers Three Ways

One cool veg, a trio of easy variations

I had lots of fun in the kitchen with Justine Schofield on her show, Everyday Gourmet. These days, I find that I’m often looking at a particular vegetable and wondering how many different things I can do with it. It’s almost like asking a vegetable what mood it’s in and then giving it the activity to suit… I guess it’s just one more way of appreciating produce and making the most of it.

In this video, I show Justine three easy, tasty ways I use cucumber. The first one is the easiest entree, nibble or snack (great for after school!) you can imagine – simple chilled cucumbers, Lebanese style. Our second cucumber dish is a quick no-fuss tzatziki that you can eat as a dip or dollop over grilled chicken or lamb. So good! Finally, there are fermented cucumbers. We do it in a light, spiced brine and they’re ready in about five days. Snack on them, eat them with burgers, just give it a go.

You can make one of these dishes, two of them, or go cuce-crazy and make all three!

Makes: snacks for 4
Time: 5 minutes, plus 5 days fermentation

Ingredients

Chilled

  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • flaked salt

Tzatziki

  • 1 long cucumber 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt

Fermented cucumbers

  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ tbsp sea salt
  • 2 (or more) Lebanese cucumbers
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • a few bay leaves

Method

Chilled

1. Take Lebanese cucumbers and cut lengthwise into four long triangular wedges.

2. Sprinkle with sea salt and black sesame. Serve very cold.

Tzatziki

1. Grate a long (telegraph) cucumber and place it in a sieve to drain for a few minutes. Cucumber can also be chopped in Thermomix: cut into chunks and blitz 4 sec/speed 6, repeating until finely chopped. It can be drained in the steamer basket. 

2. Grate a garlic clove (or just use half, as much as you like!)

3. Fold cucumber and garlic together with Greek yoghurt. Season with sea salt. Serve chilled.

Fermented cucumbers

1. Dissolve salt in water to create brine.

2. Cut cucumber into wedges or slices. They need to be able to easily fit in your jars. Place cucumbers into jar or jars. Add chilli and coriander (or other spices)

3. Add brine to cover cucumbers. Place bay leaves on top and tuck edges down side – the leaves are used to submerge cucumbers as well as add flavour.

4. Loosely seal jar then leave for a few days in a warm place in your kitchen. When you start to see bubbles, keep an eye on the jar and ‘burp’ it to release pressure each day. Flavour will intensify and become more sour over time, though more slowly if in the fridge. Eat over a few months – or straight away!

Tips

  • Use a sterilised jar to ferment your cucumbers. Sterilise the jar by washing it in hot, soapy water, then drying lid and jar in a 100°C (212°F) oven. 

More about this video

If you love this recipe, I think you will also enjoy the other recipes I cooked with Justine:

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