Grilled Veg 5 - Cucumbers
You would be a pioneer if you grilled them and ate them then just as is. Actually, that might not be bad if you added a rich and delicious salad dressing.
But the true role of the grilled cucumber, a role which has hitherto been unknown until it is now uncovered and publicized by yours truly, leewhiteleewhite, is as a star ingredient in a salad made up of other improbables. That in fact is the name of the salad here: The Improbables.
Here is a glimpse of just such a salad. We can make this and put it before family or guests in a jiffy. They might be a little puzzled at first, but once they dig in they will know they've struck gold.
Not all the same
Cucumbers are not known for their great variety. Although those found in the market are generally like the one on the bottom here in this picture, the one on top has more recently become easy to find as well.
The one on the top is generally known as an English cucumber. The taste is a bit more forceful and a little less watery than the standard cucumber so long dominant in supermarkets.
This greater solidity of the English makes it perfect for grilling, though we are not going to give up on the old standard either when we proceed to the preheated grill. You do preheat your grill when cooking on it, so you not?
Although not noted for its varieties, there are in fact many varieties of cucumber. This is no doubt due to the fact that the cucumber originated in India and has been under cultivation for three thousand years. Plenty of time to try an experiment or two. From India, the cucumber gradually took over the world. Hard to imagine, but the evidence is right there on our cutting board, wherever we live.
Halve them (ie, cut them in half) and seed them before proceeding to the preheated grill..
Takes but a minute, and we can do it with a spoon, at least the de-seeding part..
This step is not absolutely necessary, but the net result, the result on the plate, is a more concentrated cucumber flavor. That is a highly desirable result.
They look like little dugout canoes, do they not? Sail on.
On the grill
Start with the halved face down
We are going to add a tomato or two to the finished salad, so we have put tomato halves on the grill as well to keep the cucumber halves company.
It makes a pretty picture, and it will make a pretty meal and a tasty meal.
About two or three minutes at most.
Then turn them over for another two or three minutes. Pretty simple, all this. What could be better?
The tomato cooks much faster than the more solid cucumbers, so we have already removed that from the grill.
Slice and dice
Actually, just slice.
This will be enough for perhaps four salads as a side dish or two as a main dish. We might want to add more tomatoes to this for a main dish.
But there are other ingredients going in as well, and they can be varied as to amount to get what we desire in terms of a meal on any particular occasion.
Ready to portion what we have here out into individual servings onto serving plates or into bowls.
Dribble some EVOO over this. Olive oil unifies the salad, but we do not want it to overpower.
Next, one of the most important additions.
And not just any blueberries -- grilled blueberries to match the grilled cucumber. Click on the link below to find our hub on grilling blueberries.
Some grilled corn, as well.
And Asiago cheese. It has a clear, distinctive taste that goes perfectly with the other ingredients here. A cheese this good, of course, goes with just about anything, but most especially the cucumbers we have grilled here.
The combination of these may be improbable, even though each is delicious on its own, but in fact this combination works surprisingly well.
For gilling blueberries see Grilled blueberries.
In general cultivation, cucumbers are classified into three main cultivar groups: "slicing", "pickling", and "burpless". Better, it would seem, to be a burpless than a
Actually a burpless is not something from outer space. It is a type which is slightly sweeter than your average cucumber, and it has a thinner skin than other varieties. A pleasant taste is another attribute. They are special also in that they are nearly seedless. Grown in greenhouses, they are sometimes marketed as "burpless", because the seeds and skin of other varieties are said to give some people gas. So "burpless' does not stand for some exotic strain with a foreign name ("burr pless"), but rather for something rather more down to earth.
Many other cultivars, from Lebanon to Germany and East Asia, from Armenia to Sri Lanka, from . . . . . . you get the idea.
France appears to be the first country in modern Europe to adopt the cucumber, which originated in India 3,000 years ago, or more. France had it around 900 AD and created many of the modern uses for the cucumber. Let us all now salute the French.
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