Monday, July 11, 2011

Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Concombres aux Champignons et a la Creme

aka: Baked Cucumbers in a Mushroom Cream Sauce

Baked Cucumbers?  Yup... that was my first thought when I read it too.  However, I am swimming in cucumbers (among other veggies) and getting a little sick of canning/freezing everything... AND it's been a while since I mastered any new French Cooking.  

6 8-inch cucumbers (I used 10 cuz i had pickling cucumbers)
2 tbsp wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp basil
4 tbsp minced green onions
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms
1 c whipping cream
1 tsp cornstarch, mixed with 1 tsp water
2 tbsp minced parsley
salt & pepper to taste

1. Peel cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, spoon out seed bed, and slice into spears.  Cut spears in half.  I skipped the seed bed scooping and cutting the spears in half.  Pickling cucumbers have much smaller, firmer seeds than english cucumbers and are shorter.  I wouldn't skip if you're using regular cucumbers.

Sorry for all the crappy pics, my good camera's battery was dead

2. Toss cucumbers in a bowl with vinegar, salt & sugar.  Let stand for at least 30 minutes or for several hours.  Drain.  Pat dry in a towel.

3. Preheat oven to 375.  Toss cucumbers in a baking dish with butter, basil & onion.  Set uncovered in the middle of preheated oven for about an hour, tossing 2 or 3 times.

4.  At this point, you can toss them with a little fresh parsley (Concombres Persilles) or continue on to the cream sauce.  

5. Trim, wipe and quarter mushrooms.  Set them in a dry skillet (no oil or anything) and toss over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.  

6. Pour in cream and cornstarch mixture and boil slowly for 5 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.  

7. Stir in parsley & salt & pepper to taste, then toss in warm cucumbers.  Eat!

 For the most part, I was really impressed.  Baked cucumbers sounded so wrong to me, but they were sweet and warm but they still retained plenty of their crispness.  It was really good.  Also, it was fresh enough to not be overwhelmingly rich (which stuff from this book can tend to be) even with the cream.  That being said, there was no mention of draining the cukes after baking and the butter/cucumber juice mixture  turned my beautifully thick cream sauce into a watery mess.  A yummy one, but in the future i think i'll drain the cukes before adding the sauce.


  1. Yay you tried this! I just got myself a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, so now that I know the recipe isn't crazy-pants, I'll have to give it a shot. (so far my efforts towards killing the cucumber crop have included cucumber infused vodka, cucumber water, and lots of give-aways- not really the most sustainable approach, hah)

  2. you'll have to let me know if draining them after baking helps the wateriness

  3. Tried this a couple days ago, and I agree, really good. I didn't drain the cukes, but didn't need to, they really didn't release much water at all when baked. I did use standard garden cukes, so maybe they reacted differently than pickling cukes?