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.

14 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.

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