Pare and slice them very thin, strew a little fine salt over them, and when they have stood a few minutes drain off the water, by raising one side of the dish, and letting it flow to the other; pour it away, strew more salt, and a moderate seasoning of pepper on them, add two or three tablespoonsful of the purest salad-oil, and turn the cucumbers well, that the whole may receive a portion of it; then pour over them from one to three dessertspoonsful of Chili vinegar, and a little common, should it be needed; turn them into a clean dish and serve them.
If very young, cucumbers are usually dressed without being pared, but the tough rind of full-grown ones being extremely indigestible, should be avoided. The vegetable, though apt to disagree with persons of delicate habit, when sauced in the common mode, with salt, pepper, and vinegar only, may often be eaten by them with impunity when dressed with plenty of oil. It is difficult to obtain this perfectly fresh and pure here; and hence, perhaps, arises in part the prejudice, which amongst us, is so often found to exist against the use of this most wholesome condiment.
(West Indian Receipt.) Chop together very small, two moderate-sized cucumbers, with half the quantity of mild onion; add the juice of a lemon, a saltspoonful or more of salt, a third as much of cayenne, and one or two glasses of Madeira, or of any other dry white wine. This preparation is to be served with any kind of roast meat.
Take three or four cucumbers, so young as not to require paring; score the ends well, that when they are sliced they may fall into small bits; add plenty of young onions, cut fine, the juice of half a lemon, a glass of sherry or Madeira, and a dessertspoonful of vinegar.
Pare, and split into quarters, four or five full-grown but still young cucumbers; take out the seeds and cut each part in two; sprinkle them with white pepper or cayenne, flour and fry them lightly in a little butter, lift them from the pan, drain them on a sieve, then lay them into as much good brown gravy as will nearly cover them, and stew them gently from twenty-five to thirty minutes, or until they are quite tender. Should the gravy require to be thickened or flavoured, dish the cucumbers and keep them hot while a little flour and butter, or any other of the usual ingredients, is stirred into it. Some persons like a small portion of lemon-juice, or of vinegar added to the sauce; cucumber vinegar might be substited for these with very good effect, as the vegetable loses much of its fine and peculiar flavour when cooked.
25 to 30 minutes.
The cucumbers may be left in entire lengths, thrown into well-salted boiling water, and simmered for ten minutes, then thoroughly drained upon the back of a sieve, and afterwards stewed very quickly till tender in some highly-flavoured brown gravy, or in the Spanish sauce of page 88.
The cucumbers for this dish may be pared and sliced very thin; or quartered, freed from the seeds, and cut into half-inch lengths; in either case they should be steeped in a little vinegar and sprinkled with salt for half an hour before they are dressed. Drain, and then press them dry in a soft cloth; flour them well, put a slice of butter into a stewpan or saucepan bright in the inside, and when it begins to boil throw in the cucumbers, and shake them over a gentle fire ten minutes, but be careful to prevent their taking the slightest colour; pour to them gradually as much strong, but very pale, veal stock or gravy as will nearly cover them; when it boils skim off the fat entirely, add salt and white pepper, if needed, and when the cucumbers are quite tender, strew in a large teaspoonful of finely-minced parsley, and thicken the sauce with the yolks of two or three eggs. French cooks add the flour when the vegetable has stewed in the butter, instead of dredging it upon them at first, and this is perhaps the better method.
Boil them tolerably tender in salt and water, drain them well, then stew them for a few minutes in a thick bechamel, and serve them in it.
If very young they need not be pared, but otherwise, take off the rind, slice, and dredge them lightly with pepper and flour, but put no salt at first; throw them into very hot butter or clarified dripping, or they will not brown; when they are nearly done sprinkle some salt amongst them, and as soon as they are quite tender, lift them out with a slice, drain them well, and place them lightly over the hash or mince. A small portion of onion may be fried with them when it is liked.