It’s great that cucumbers can simply be sliced up and ready to eat in a matter of seconds, but have you ever thought about what they’d be like cooked? While their high water content means the vegetable isn’t really suited to being baked or slow-roasted, there are plenty of other cooking techniques that bring out its flavour – especially when paired with fish.
Braising cucumbers, as the blogger Food Urchin does in his dish of Braised fennel and cucumber with sourdough crumbs, smoked pancetta and baked cod loin, means they keep their bite and fresh, leafy taste whilst simultaneously taking on the flavours of lemon and garlic perfectly. Chef Pete Biggs takes a gentler approach, making a cucumber and horseradish stock for his Turbot with oysters, cabbage and bacon, which he then gently heats with an oyster mayonnaise to make a rich, flavourful sauce. Turbot seems to be a popular partner; Dominic Chapman pan-fries the luxurious fish and serves it with an innovative cucumber beurre blanc, contrasting fresh and rich flavours with finesse. Steven Smith, on the other hand, boils cucumber and apple juice before adding agar agar and xanthan gum to make a smooth bed of sauce for his Mackerel and horseradish snow.