There I go again, roasting things I didn’t know could be roasted. I know what you’re thinking. I really do. Roasted cucumbers?! How…just…ew. Well let me tell ya: we were both wrong.
Next to tomato and mayo sandwiches and tuna and mayo sandwiches, cucumber and mayo sandwiches are my mainstay (Do you see a theme? Blank and Mayo? I do not apologize.) I’ve slowly realized over the years that cucumbers are rather polarizing. There are a lot of people out there that just hate them! I do not understand, people! They’re cold and crunchy and crisp and taste like freshness incarnate. They love gin! Anything that loves gin is a friend of mine! And did you know that supposedly the scent of cucumber is an aphrodisiac for women!? It is! I swear it! (Not from personal experience but from something I read. Really.) Look, all I’m sayin’ is, there’s no room for cucumber haters in my space. I will admit, however, that despite my deep, unshakable love for them, this recipe did give me pause. Roasted cucumbers? How can that be good? What would the texture be like? What would they taste like? Visions of slugs slimed through my head. Ultimately, it was the other ingredients (mayo! capers! yogurt! garlic! mint! lemon! parsley!) that swayed me.
Good news! Instead of slugs, you end up with…pickles. You roast the cucumbers just until they’re crisp tender, their flavor is a bit concentrated, and they’ve lost some of their liquid. What you end up with really is like a pickle, but without the brine. But wait, then you toss it with capers and lemon juice and you really do end up with something kind of like a pickle! And also, due to the yogurt and mint and the concentrated cucumbers, something kinda like tzatziki! Um, nirvana, hello? Pickle tzatziki? Don’t mind if I do. Then. THEN you layer it on some good bread and omg lunch win #2! I totally won this weekend. And cucumber haters? You’re welcome in my space ’cause that means there’s more for me.
Roasted Cucumber Sandwich
Adapted from Bon Appétit. Makes enough filling for 8 sandwiches.
I clearly cut this down; I have no need for 8 sandwiches worth of anything. Luckily, measurements are only suggestions for this recipe….just taste until you’re happy with it. A word to the wise: Ciabatta is just too crusty for this sandwich. I ended up with cucumbers everywhere. I mean, they were still delicious, but do yourself a solid and go for some softer bread.
2 1/2 lbs English hothouse cucumbers (Persian or Japanese will also work, but I just used English)
2 T (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c labneh (Lebanese yogurt cheese) or Greek-style yogurt
1/2 c mayonnaise
3 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed well, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2T finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 T (or more) fresh lemon juice
- Heat oven to 400° F
- Cut cucumbers lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a small spoon (If using persian or Japanese cucs, keep them whole!). Place them cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet
- Brush with melted butter and roast for 15 min, until crisp tender
- Place on paper towels to drain and chill until cold. Slice lengthwise again, then cut into 1/4″ pieces
- In a medium bowl, whisk cucumber with yogurt, mayo, capers, garlic, herbs and lemon. Season with salt and pepper (and more lemon if you want!)
- Pile her up and enjoy!