Cucumbers are a blank slate. They are crisp and refreshing, can be roasted in butter or minced up with yogurt and garlic to be served on a vast condiment tray. We have made cucumber noodles as well as candied cucumber pearls. The cucumber is a an incredible canvas.
Today, we worked to assemble a number of flavors which highlight the versatility of the cucumber. We began the dish by poaching a peeled English cucumber for thirty minutes at 53.5 degrees C. We then chilled the cucumber and sliced it into sections. At this point I realized we were mirroring another aesthetically pleasing dish, Hearts of Palm in Five Sections by Grant Achatz and crew at Alinea. The idea of using a set medium to accent a number of flavors is intriguing and as Aki bluntly and accurately noticed, it's cucumber sushi; many flavors and textures all presented in the medium of cucumber rather than rice.
So today, we paired tastes and flavors with cucumber. The bites were as follows: date-miso, epazote, caper chip; mango-horseradish, sage, mallow root cracker; cranberry-fermented black bean, shiso, dried mustard; guacamole, cumin, cilantro, jalapeno; smoked cashew, celery leaves, smoked pickled grape.