The French approach to vegetables is to be admired. No artifice, just simplicity to bring out the flavours of the produce.
Concombres en Salade
Source : Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cuisine
Cuisine: French, but International really
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 0 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it
best quality extra virgin olive oil
chives, chervil or parsley
mandoline or sharp knife
In the words of Elizabeth David:
“To slice a cucumber really thinly you need the instrument called a mandoline. In France, the cucumber is nearly always peeled (use a potato parer) and is best prepared a little time ahead. Slice it almost paper thin on the mandoline, sprinkle it with salt, put in a colander with a plate pressed down over it and leave to drain. After a minimum of half an hour press it dry and dress with oil, a few drops of vinegar, a pinch of sugar. Sprinkle with chopped chives, chervil or parsley.
The gherkin cucumbers, short and fat, which are used for pickling and which come into the shops in August, can be treated in the same fashion, and it is essential to peel them as their skins are apt to be better; then cut them in half lengthways and discard the course seeds before slicing them, and be rather more generous with the sugar in the dressing.
As the season advances, ordinary cucumbers become full of seed and watery, and they too should have the seeds remove in the same way as the cornichon cucumbers.”
I like to add a little black pepper.