1502.—CUCUMBERS, FRIED. (Fr.—Concombres Frits.)
Ingredients.—2 or 3 small cucumbers, pepper and salt to taste, flour, oil or butter.
Method.—Pare the cucumbers and cut them into slices of an equal thickness, commencing to slice from the thick end, and not the stalk end of the cucumber. Wipe the slices dry with a cloth, dredge them with flour, and put them in a pan of boiling oil or butter; keep turning them about till brown, lift them out of the pan, let them drain on a cloth, then season, and serve, piled lightly on a dish.
Time.—About 20 minutes. Average Cost, 1s. 2d. to 1s. 6d. Obtainable all the year.
Properties and uses of the Cucumber.—The fruits of the Cucurbitacece, or gourd order, to which the cucumber belongs, have in general a sugary taste, and contain a large percentage of water; hence their value in tropical countries, where they furnish the inhabitants, even in arid deserts and barren islands, with a large portion of their food. The roots of the perennial varieties contain, in addition to fecula, which is their base, a resinous, acrid, and bitter principle. The juice of the cucumber is employed in the preparation of various kinds of soaps, and washes for the skin, its soothing or emollient properties rendering it valuable for such purposes.
Geographical Distribution of Cucumbers.—The family of the Cucurbitaceae is unknown in the frigid zone, is somewhat rare in the temperate zone, but in tropical and warm regions throughout the globe, all the species grow abundantly. Many varieties supply useful articles of consumption, and others possess active medicinal properties.
The Chate.—This variety of cucumber is a native of Egypt and Arabia, and produces a fruit of nearly the same substance as that of the melon. In Egypt the chate is esteemed by the upper class natives, as well as by Europeans, as the most pleasant fruit of its kind.
1503.—CUCUMBER WITH PARSLEY SAUCE. (Fr.—Concombre à la Poulette.)
Ingredients. 2 medium-sized cucumbers, ½ a pint of white sauce (see Sauces), 1 oz. of butter, the yolks of 2 eggs, ½ a teaspoonful of finely-chopped shallot, or onion, ½ a teaspoonful of finely-chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
Method.—Pare the cucumbers, put them into boiling water, cook for about 10 minutes, then drain well and cut them into slices about 1 inch in thickness. Heat the butter in a stewpan, put in the sliced cucumber, shallot, and a good seasoning of salt and pepper, toss over the fire for a few minutes, then add the white sauce. Just before boiling point is reached add the yolks of eggs and parsley, stir and cook gently until the eggs thicken, then season to taste, and serve.
Time.—About 30 minutes. Average Cost, from 1s. 3d. to 1s. 6d. Obtainable at any time, cheapest in July and August.
The Melon (Fr. mellon).—This is another species of the gourd family, and is highly valued for its rich and delicious fruit, it has from time immemorial been cultivated in hot Eastern countries. It was introduced into England from Jamaica in the sixteenth century, since which period it has been grown in Great Britain. It was formerly called the musk-lemon, which is a variety of the common melon.
1504.—CUCUMBERS, STEWED. (Fr.—Concombres au Jus.)
Ingredients.—2 large cucumbers, flour, butter, rather more than ½ a pint of good brown gravy.