Seasonal Eats — Cucumbers
So yes, we know that you can get cucumbers whenever you want them. Making a salad in January? No problem. Looking for something crunchy in March? Easy. You can get a cucumber any time of year these days, but once you try a cucumber in the summer, when they’re meant to be eaten, you’ll have a hard time going back to the ones found in the supermarket. Now is when cucumbers are being harvested, and not the usual ones you see everywhere. This is the time for kirbys, burpless and lemon cucumbers.
We didn’t know until recently that cucumbers are actually a part of the gourd family, so they’re related to melons and pumpkins. They also don’t necessarily have to be green. Lemon cucumbers, one of our favorites, are shaped like big, sturdier eggs and can be anywhere from pale to bright yellow. Sliced, they’re fresh, crisp and taste of lemon. Burpless Cucumbers are longer and thinner than the garden variety cucumber we’re all familiar with, but they’re great for slicing and are free from the bitterness that can sometimes pop up in cucumbers. They tend to have thin, ridged skin and are an easy choice for a summer salad. Kirby Cucumbers fall into the other category of cucumbers: picklers. While they’re great to snack on, they’re smaller and curvier, making them perfect for pickling.
It’s typical to include cucumbers in salad, but now that they’re in season, why not try them in a soup? A cooling soup could be just the thing to fight the end of summer heat and you may not even have to touch the stove. A fresh veggie wrap is an easy summer lunch. Just grab a pita or a tortilla and wrap it around fresh cucumbers, peppers, some tomatoes, lettuce and mozzarella, and you have a quick, filling lunch. Or try fennel and cucumber salsa, an unusual side for grilled meat or even a dip. All you need is a head of fennel, some sliced red onion, some cilantro, honey, lemon juice, an avocado, and the cucumber of your choice.
Downtown, Acme has a house cocktail devoted entirely to the cucumber. Their Cucumber 75 is a delicious blend of gin, cucumber, lemon, and sparkling wine. If you don’t feel like making your own wrap, Blossom du Jour is happy to make one for you. Order the Hummus Cucumber wrap, filled with hummus, cucumber, field greens and carrots. Cucumber makes a notable appearance at Cascabel Taqueria. Order the Gorditas Con Puerco and you’ll find yourself starting the meal with heritage pork belly, cucumbers, cilantro and masa cake with a chipotle honey glaze. Keep going with the Puerco en Adobe, a dinner only special with corn tortillas, adobe-marinated berkshire pork butt, cucumber, sauteed onion, tamarind and roasted garlic. Wait, there’s more…Cucumber Cilantro cocktail — el Jimador silver, muddled cucumber, cilantro, fresh lime juice and organic agave. What are you waiting for? Seize the season.
9 Great Jones St. At Lafayette St.
Blossom Du Jour
617 9th Ave Between 9th and 10th Ave
2799 Broadway at W 108th St.