Old-fashioned Scalloped Cucumbers

Why do we almost always eat some vegetables raw, while others are typically cooked? I don’t have an answer, but I know that I was surprised when I recently saw a hundred-year-recipe for Scalloped Cucumbers. And, since it’s cucumber season, I decided to give the recipe a try.

The Scalloped Cucumbers were delightful. The cooked cucumbers still had a hint of crispness, and when mixed with onion slices in a creamy sauce, and topped with cheese and breadcrumbs, this makes a perfect vegetable side dish. Cucumbers are a  tasty vegetable . . . regardless of whether eaten raw or cooked.

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book (1917) by Lilla Frich

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Scalloped Cucumbers

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

4 large cucumbers

6 medium onions

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated*

1/2 cup fine bread crumbs*

Preheat oven to 375° F. Peel cucumbers, and quarter length-wise. Remove the seeds, and then dice the cucumbers into bite-sized chunks. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender (about 10 – 15 minutes). (Cucumbers are still somewhat firm even when cooked.)

Remove the skins from the onions, and then thinly slice. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender (about 10 – 15 minutes).

In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens.

In a large buttered casserole dish, layer the white sauce, cucumbers, and onions. End with a layer of white sauce. Then sprinkle the grated cheese and breadcrumbs on the top. Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

*The original hundred-year-old recipe also indicated that nuts or cereal could be used as a topping.

I didn’t salt the water when I cooked the cucumbers and onions: instead I put some salt in the white sauce. And, I didn’t “butter and crumb” my casserole dish; I just buttered the dish. It worked fine with the crumbs just sprinkled on top of the dish.

16 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Scalloped Cucumbers

  1. Of all the dishes I’d never imagine, this one’s right up there. “Cooked cucumber” seems an oxymoron. Maybe I’ve heard the expression “cool as a cucumber” too many times! The recipe seems so odd I’m going to have to try it, just to see how it turns out.

  2. You’re so right – we do need to keep an open mind when using certain vegetables.
    This is an interesting recipe, which reminded me that a few ago I’ve had stuffed cooked cucumbers in a Persian restaurant, and they were delicious.

  3. Never thought to use them this way! I guess we are blessed with so many things on hand ,and if we don’t .then the grocery does…that we aren’t forced to be as creative with food as back then.

  4. I am so happy I found this recipe! My father’s family made this; they called it goulash. Unfortunately, there was no written recipe, and He has been gone for over 40 years. This looks like exactly what I remember. It is a fantastic side for holiday meals.

    1. Thanks for taking a moment to write a note. It’s nice to hear that your ancestors made a recipe like this one. I hope that it tastes just like you remember it.

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