Cucumber sandwiches, cucumber salad, pickled cucumbers – dishes which all have their place in the British food scene, but perhaps not the most exciting foods in the world. It’s for this reason that the cucumber has gained a bit of a bad reputation for being something you chop up and add to lunches for added crunch, and not much else.
However, as we learnt at the cook school we hosted at Le Cordon Bleu with Dominic Chapman, head chef at The Beehive in Maidenhead, cucumbers are a lot more versatile than you might think. He showed a class full of journalists and bloggers how they’re used in fine dining, and some innovative ways to cook them without turning the flesh brown.
‘We’re preparing a chilled fresh cucumber soup, finished with a little bit of lovage, parsley and some sherry vinegar,’ says Dominic. ‘It’s very simple and a lovely vibrant green. I wouldn’t call it gazpacho as that’s something completely different, even though it’s also a chilled soup.’