Nigel Slaters Recipes for Summer Cucumbers and Cheese Sandwiches | eat
A A saucepan of pickled vegetables is useful to have in the refrigerator. The cucumbers – carrot, cucumber, radish, maybe a few strips of cabbage – but also the cucumber juice itself, the astringent drink made from vinegar and spices.
I make my own fridge pickles, if not all the time. It offers the option of increasing the salt or decreasing the sugar at will. (We’re not talking about long-term storage here.) You can use allspice instead of juniper, mustard seeds instead of coriander, and run the pickling liquor in any direction – east (star anise and clove), south (chillies and garlic), or north (juniper and Dill). I also add ready-made sauerkraut to mine.
The juice is what you need (just a tablespoon or so) to breathe life into, to save a cream sauce from stickiness, or to lift the mood of a salad dressing. The pickle itself is for so much more than just sitting aside a piece of pork pie. I like to spoon it over the blackened skin of a grilled mackerel fillet – the crispy, smoky skin with the vinegar is sensational; Fold the cucumbers and juice into an artichoke crust, parsley, and watercress salad, or tuck them untidily between the layers of a toasted sandwich.
This is the season of the sandwich. If I can put my lunch between two slices of bread and eat it outside, then I will. There will be sandwiches with cold salmon and cucumber; mashed avocado and mozzarella; Tomato and grilled eggplant or ham with fried potatoes. Each of them will benefit from a spoonful of homemade cucumber – crisp, hot and bright.
Pickled summer vegetables
The jars should be sterilized if you plan to keep the cucumber for a long time. After washing, pour boiling water or warm them in the oven. Pack the glasses full so that the liquor comes to the top.
Makes 2 medium Kilner glasses.
cucumber 1 small
Shallot 1 big
carrot 1 medium
sauerkraut 6 heaped tbsp
For the cucumber:
White wine vinegar 6 tbsp
Apple Cider Vinegar 6 tbsp
Malt vinegar 5 tbsp
Fennel seeds 2 Tea spoons
black peppercorns fifteen
Juniper berries 8th
powdered sugar 1 teaspoon
Salt- 1 teaspoon
Peel the cucumber, then cut in half lengthways. Scrape out the stone and seeds with a teaspoon and discard.
Cut the cucumber into 1 cm thick slices and place in a large bowl. Peel the shallot, cut into thin rings and add to the cucumber. Scrub the carrot, then cut into long strips with a potato peeler. Put these in the bowl, cut into thin slices and add the radishes and sauerkraut.
Mix the vinegar, fennel seeds, peppercorns and juniper berries in a small stainless steel saucepan. Add sugar and salt and heat over moderate heat. Bring to the boil and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Pour the hot jellyfish over the vegetables and carefully toss them together.
Fill into clean, sterilized storage jars, close and refrigerate overnight.
Cheese and cucumber mustard butter sandwiches
Crisp Time: Press the sandwich against the hot pan for maximum crispness. Photo: Jonathan Lovekin / The Observer
Brushing with mustard butter before grilling gives the bread a crispness and delicious flavor. In addition, the surface turns brown faster, so it is worth keeping a close eye on the baking progress of the bread. A small fluted grill pan is ideal, but a frying pan is fine too. Press it firmly against the hot metal for a crisper finish.
Makes 2 sandwiches
Summer vegetable cucumber 4 tbsp (see recipe above)
Sour Dough Bread 4 slices
Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon
Roughly rub the fontina. Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the mustard; Don’t worry if it doesn’t mix perfectly. Brush both sides of the bread with mustard butter.
Heat a grill pan or frying pan. Divide the cheese on 2 slices of bread. Drain the cucumber, then spoon onto the cheese, place the pieces of bread on top and press firmly. Place the sandwiches on the grill plate or in the pan and press them down with a spatula or weight.
When the bottom of the sandwich is golden brown, turn it over and bake the other side. When the cheese is soft and the bread is golden brown, eat it immediately.
Guacamole, cucumber and mozzarella bagel
I prefer avocado that isn’t too ripe. The cucumber juice cuts through the oily pulp and also keeps its color.
red chilli 1, small
Grain mustard must 2 Tea spoons
Coriander leaves a small handful
lime Juice of ½
olive oil 1 tbsp
Mozzarella 1 x 200g ball
Summer vegetable cucumber 8 tbsp (see recipe above)
Halve, stone and peel the avocados. Put the pulp in a bowl, then mash it with a fork. Finely chop the chilli and add to the bowl. Stir in mustard, coriander leaves, lime juice and olive oil until a thick, mustard-freckled cream is formed.
Halve the bagels and toast the cut side until lightly crispy under a hot grill or in a toaster. Tear the mozzarella into large, irregular pieces and place on the bottom half of the toasted bagels. Brush generously with the avocado cream. Place the cucumber on top and the other half of the bagel and serve.
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