Cucumbers, dill, horseradish

Cucumbers, dill, horseradish

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

The saying ‘as cool as a cucumber’ refers to the vegetable’s refreshing nature and high water content; they actually feel cooler than air temperature. Given the intense nature of the grill environment, it is surprising that anything could remain cool but this dish manages to do that. It is refreshing and is full of distinctive contrasts of textures and flavours – all from the cucumber. The combination of fermented and grilled cucumber, and the bracing nature of the raw cucumber, results in notes of complex char, briny tang, and unadulterated rawness in the same mouthful. The dill crème fraîche binds the cucumbers into a heavenly threesome, which is lifted by the horseradish.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1/2 bunch dill, chopped
100g crème fraîche
4 baby cucumbers, halved
fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil, such as arbequina or koroneiki
1 lemon or apple cucumber, cut into eighths
3 lemon balm leaves, chopped
1 bunch watercress, leaves picked
15g fresh horseradish root, peeled

For the fermented cucumber

Quantity Ingredient
4 baby cucumbers, trimmed to remove the blossom end, halved
10g horseradish root, peeled and sliced
1/2 bunch dill, chopped
500ml Salt brine, 5%
50ml whey (see note)

Method

  1. 1. To ferment the cucumbers, place them in a 500 ml (17 floz/2 cups) sterilised glass jar, adding the sliced horseradish and dill and submerging in the cold salt brine and whey. Seal tightly and leave to ferment in a cool place out of direct light for 3 days. The cucumbers will break down naturally and develop lactic acid. Once fermented, refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. 2. Prepare your embers and arrange a grill directly on the embers.
  3. 3. Remove the fermented cucumber from the brine and drain, reserving the fermented liquid.
  4. 4. In a bowl, mix the dill through the crème fraîche with 60 ml (2 floz/¼ cup) of the fermented cucumber liquid.
  5. 5. Grill the raw and fermented cucumbers over direct heat for approximately 2 minutes until lightly charred. Remove and drizzle with the olive oil and toss through the lemon or apple cucumber, lemon balm leaves and watercress.
  6. 6. Arrange the cucumbers on top of the dill crème fraîche and grate over the fresh horseradish to finish. Serve immediately.

NOTES

  • The cucumber needs time to ferment, so begin the recipe 3 days ahead of time.

    Whey is the reserved liquid left over from making ricotta or butter (see other recipes in this book).
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