Do you think about cucumbers? Do you always have one in your fridge? Do you buy one every week? Do you name them? (Wait….we aren’t talking about people who really LOVE cucumbers.)
I adore cucumbers especially on hot days. There is something about the crispness and the feel of their crunch that make me feel like I am having a treat. I can sit and crunch on them at snacktime and feel like I am getting away with something. (I don’t do many things wrong so eating a plate of cucumbers make me feel dangerous!)
They have become my go-to at lunchtime because I can pair cucumbers with just about anything and come up with a satisfying meal and snack.
They are also a good platform to serve little appetizers. (I can’t think of a better word than platform…stage…background…board…you see where I am going.)
I know there are multiple varieties of cucumbers…….we usually only have 3 options in the store. The basic, slicing cucumber (not the technical name) but it is the average 6-8 inch long, 1-2 inch wide and big seeded variety. Then there is the English or Japanese which is longer about 12 inches, 1 inch and very small seeds. The smallest is the Kirby which is about 4 inches, less than an inch wide and very tiny, tiny seeds. (This is the one used a lot in kosher pickles).
I like them all. I use the basic to scoop up hummus on a lazy afternoon, the Japanese is my favorite to julienne and use in my sushi rolls and the Kirby is fun to dress up.
I don’t dress it up like a person (even now that I type that…I want to get some googly eyes out and put it on a cucumber)….I like to cut them into little circles and then pop a topping on it.
This is the fun part….you can pretty much put whatever you want on top….ANYTHING!!! You can put chicken salad, tuna, other chopped veggies, a hat (just checking to see if you were still reading) or a fun cheese mousse.
It really a great vehicle that drives your heart’s desire into your mouth.
Here are a few hints…..
Cut your cucumber slices evenly. You want your plate to look uniform.
Sprinkle the cucumber with a little salt or whatever other seasoning that might compliment the topping.
Scoop a tiny bit of the seeds out but don’t poke through the bottom. This will keep your topping from sliding off.
A melon baller is nice measuring tool when putting the topping on and it helps you mound it so it is pretty. (You could pipe a mousse if you really want to get fancy.)
Try to keep your edges clean so your guests can pick them up and pop it in their mouth without licking their fingers.
Be creative. It is cucumber and pretty versatile.
Summer cucumbers are the best so make sure you take advantage of the season and buy a ton of cucumbers and have some fun….good, clean fun!
Spicy Tuna Cucumber Spheres
3 Kirby cucumbers, sliced and skim a little out of the middle but don’t scoop it so there is a hole. It should just be a divot. You can peel alternating strips so it looks like a zebra cucumber.
1 piece ahi tuna
2 Tbsp good mayo
1-2 tsp sriracha (taste after first teaspoon to see if you want it spicier)
2 green onions minced
Toasted seaweed and sesame seeds
Fish roe/chili oil optional for a garnish
Lay the cucumber spheres flat on a platter and give them a little sprinkle of salt.
In a small bowl, mix tuna, mayo, sriracha and green onions.
Put a tiny scoop of the tuna mix on each cucumber and sprinkle with seaweed and sesame seeds.
To fancifiy it, add a little row and a swirl of chili oil.
Try not to pop them all in your mouth before serving to your guests. (But it is okay to taste at least 4 of them for quality control.)