cucumber roasted in madrone dill coastal grasses

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Image of cucumber roasted in madrone dill coastal grassesOcean meets land. The Pacific, only about an hour from the valley, provides a wealth of wild edibles. We often travel to the coast and return with a variety of coastal grasses, green and vibrant and tasting of the ocean: sea arrowgrass, wild agretti, sea beans. We snip these grasses over a dish featuring various preparations of cucumber—roasted in madrone leaf, raw, and pickles from the preceding year.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 240 grams | 1 cup water
  • 120 grams | ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 18 grams | 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 6 grams | 1 ½ teaspoons dill seeds
  • 2 grams | about 1 bay leaf
  • 2 grams | about 3 allspice berries
  • 4 grams | 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 grams | about 3 white peppercorns
  • 6 | Dragon’s Egg cucumbers
  • 4 | small Dragon’s Egg cucumbers, about 2 inches (5 centimeters)
  • long
  • kosher salt, for burying the cucumbers
  • 8 | madrone leaves
  • 40 grams | 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 350 grams | 1 ½ cups crème fraîche
  • 250 grams | 8.8 ounces gellan base
  • kosher salt
How to Make It
  1. FOR THE DILL PICKLES: Combine the water and vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Add the kosher salt, dill seeds, bay leaf, allspice, mustard seeds, and peppercorns, cover, and steep over low heat at 140°F (60°C) for 2 hours. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Meanwhile, place the cucumbers in a metal bowl. When the liquid is at a boil, pour it over the cucumbers and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Hold in an area with an ambient temperature of 160°F (71°C) for 2 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool for 24 hours.
  2. Remove half of the cucumbers from the liquid and cut them lengthwise into wedges about ¼ inch (6 millimeters) wide. Cut the remaining cucumbers into brunoise. Return all of the cut pickles to the pickling liquid.
  3. FOR THE ROASTED CUCUMBERS: Pierce the cucumbers evenly with a fork. Bury them in salt in a plastic container and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Rinse the salt off of the cucumbers and pat dry on paper towels. Using butcher’s twine, secure 2 madrone leaves on either side of a cucumber, so that they wrap completely around the exterior. Repeat with the remaining cucumbers. Heat a cast-iron pan over high heat and add the oil. When the oil is smoking, add the wrapped cucumbers and roast for 8 minutes, rotating the cucumbers every 2 minutes so they cook evenly. Transfer to a wire rack to rest for 2 minutes, then snip the butcher’s twine.
  4. FOR THE CRÈME FRAÎCHE PUDDING: Prepare an ice bath. Combine the crème fraîche and gellan base in a blender and mix on high speed for about 3 minutes, until the gellan base is evenly distributed. Strain the pudding through a chinois into a bowl, then nest the bowl in the ice bath and stir to cool the pudding. Season with kosher salt and transfer to a squeeze bottle.
  5. FOR THE BRAISED BORAGE: Pour the oil in a large rondeau over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallot and heat until it begins to sweat. Add the borage leaves and continue to cook for about 4 minutes, until the leaves have wilted. Transfer the leaves to a shallow metal container and refrigerate for 1 hour. Mince the leaves very finely, season with kosher salt, and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

Comments are closed.