Julia Child Wants You to Bake Your Cucumbers

updated May 1, 2019
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It’s smart to listen to Julia Child. If she tells you the best way to poach an egg is to poke a hole in its shell, do it and know you’ll achieve poached egg perfection. If she says to use more butter, do so with reckless abandon and don’t regret it. And if she tells you to bake your cucumbers, it’d be wise to listen, right? It does sound a bit strange, but trust in Julia and she won’t let you down. Baked cucumbers are actually amazing.

You Should Try Baking Your Cucumbers

We eat cucumbers in abundance all summer long — in salads, pickled, in cocktails, and even as noodles. Yet, in all of these instances, the vegetable is raw. Cooking cucumbers just never seemed like an option until I came across Julia Child’s recipe in her classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking. There she has a recipe for baked cucumbers, which, frankly, just seemed a bit bizarre. Although, there comes a time when you’ve had just about enough cold cucumber salads and get a little curious. So I tried it — and now I am a believer.

Baking cucumbers does not turn them to mush, as you may think. Instead, they become silky and incredibly tender, with an earthy flavor that’s a bit reminiscent of pickles, due to the vinegar, sugar, and salt in the recipe. It’s summer comfort food in a way — a touch of butter gives the side dish a bit of decadence, while chopped fresh herbs and green onions maintain its freshness. Trust Julia on this one — just like pretty much everything else.

Get the recipe: Baked Cucumbers from KCRW Good Food