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One French word: concombre, a French recipe: concombre à la crème


Concombre, masculine noun (un concombre, le concombre, des concombres) = cucumber (pronounced cawn-cawm-b-re, you only hear the n and the m minimally, in fact the two syllables are pronounced virtually identically, the stress is very slightly on the second syllable).

Être élevé au jus de concombre (literally to be raised on cucumber juice) = to look anaemic, sickly.

But far from being sickly, the refreshing cucumber, with its bright green skin and cooling green pulp, adds delicate colour and freshness to a lot of dishes. Showing it off on a plate with anything that is pale pink will ensure success. Serve it in summer as an iced soup. To use hot as a vegetable, peel and seed it, cut it into sticks an inch long and sauté it quickly in butter. Or in a salad, as concombre à la crème, which is my recipe for today.

In France, this is usually served as a starter (hors d’oeuvre), but I like to serve it with cold poached salmon for example. Quick and easy to do, there are nevertheless certain tricks to remember.

Concombre à la crème

For 6 people you will need:

A whole cucumber

150gr greek yogurt, whipping cream or sour cream

1 tbs chopped herbs (mint, dill, chives, parsley)

Coarse salt

Black pepper

Concombre à la crème with poached salmon and steamed potatoes

Preparation:

  1. Wash the cucumber, do not peel, cut into very thin slices either with a knife or on a snazzy slicing machine (a mandoline in French), or even in the food processor. I personally find that it is quicker to wash up just a knife.
  2. Put the slices of cucumber into a sieve and add a handful of coase salt. Make sure the salt is in contact with a maximum surface of cucumber by mixing well with your hand. Leave to stand for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Mix the yoghurt or cream with freshly ground pepper and your chosen herbs. Do not salt the mixture.
  4. Rinse the cucumber abundantly under running cold water. Get rid of all the salt. Drain and put onto a clean tea-towel and squeeze dry. Really squeeze, it doesn’t matter if the cucumber slices are a but scrunched up.
  5. Add to the cream mixture, et voilà.

 

Concombre vinaigrette (with rather a lot of pepper)

Another option is to use vinaigrette instead of the yoghurt (concombre vinaigrette). This also makes a delicious summer starter (or winter starter for that matter, I had some for my lunch yesterday).

Cucumber soup (soupe glacée au concombre) is quick and easy to make too. No cooking needed.  Peel and deseed 3 cucumbers (for 6 people). Mix well in the blender, and add a clove of garlic, 2 pots of plain yoghurt, the equivalent of one yoghurt pot of crème fraîche, salt and pepper to taste, the juice of half a lemon and a small handful of mint. Blend again and refrigerate. Serve in individual bowls garnished with a sprig of mint and a really thin slice of lemon.

Bon appétit.

About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

2 responses »

  1. marshmallowfluffxo

    looks easy to make and delicious. I love cucumbers.

    Reply
  2. I really like cucumbers, but I had to grow to like them. I don’t see how you manage to do these recipes every day!!! I am getting tired of my snail blog, but I don’t want to give up.

    Reply

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