Cucumber-wrapped salad

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by jonk, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. jonk

    jonk

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    After a 12-day backpacking trip in the San Raphael Swell last week, we had a wonderful meal at the Desert Bistro in Moab, UT. One of the items we ordered was a chopped salad that was incased in a thin wall or wrap of cucumber, maybe about two or three inches in diameter. The peeled cucumber had been sliced lengthwise, probably with a vegetable peeler to form a strip about 1.5 to 2 inches high.

    I would like to use this technique for salad plate featuring three different wrapped vegetable salads (I'm thinking of a petite green pea with a lime-mint mayo, a ponzu dressed shredded carrot, and a walnut oil dressed chopped beet--three different colors).

    The question I have is how one keeps the cucumber wrap in place. The restaurant did not use anything as crude as a toothpick. Anyone with experience in trying this have an answer?

    Thanks, as always.
     
  2. crazytatt

    crazytatt

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    If the cuc is wet enough, it will stick to itself, just makesure you cut it and leave extra length to accomidate a longer wrap. A mandoline will do a great job for the cutting as well. I used to use the "English"(Hydroponic seedless) Cucs for similar applications.
     
  3. jonk

    jonk

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    Thanks--we'll give it a try tomorrow. We indeed bought some of the English hothouse cukes to use for this. How far ahead can this be done in your experience? Will they dry out and unravel in the frig?
     
  4. crazytatt

    crazytatt

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    Depending on service and volume, it all depends. I used to do them to order. I'm sure they will hold up for a day or so though. I don't imagine it being a high volume, prep a day out item though.
    Hope this helps, and your ideas sound great.
     
  5. tigerwoman

    tigerwoman

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    in the catering world we use a section of pvc pipe and cut the english hothouse cucumber thinly on the mandeline. Then make a band inside the pvc piping, stuff with salad and chill on sheet pans for a few hours or even overnight. Gently push the bouquet out of the piping and it generally holds it shape.
     
  6. jonk

    jonk

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    Thank you, CrazyTATT and tigerwoman.

    We cut the cuke thinly on a mandeline, but couldn't get them to reliably stay "closed" (some did fine and others didn't, probably due to our lack of technique or possibly the smaller circumference of our circles, rather than any failure of CrazyTATT's method).

    The PVC tube was a fascinating insight, but a tad overwhelming for our modest operation. Fun to learn about!

    Sometime after CrazyTATT's helpful reply, the chef at Desert Bistro kindly replied with her technique: two slits half way through at each end (which we did not notice). That seems to have worked. We wrapped the pieces in plastic wrap and put them in the frig for later filling.

    We plan to put the three contrasting salads on a dinner-sized white plate with small dollops of watercress oil between them, two asparagus spears across the center with a few shavings of an orange aged Gouda on the spears at the crossing point.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  7. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    If You Purchase English Seedless Cukes And Slice Them On A Mandoline Place Them On A Plastic Tray Sprinkle Very Lightly With Salt,leave At Room Temp A While The Salt Will Bring Up The Natural Sugars And Starch In Th Cuke And Help It Fuse Together.
    Chef Ed
     
  8. even stephen

    even stephen

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    Take a very thin mixture of gelatin and water. Slice your cukes and brush
    each one before shingling the next. Build multiple layers on half sheet pan
    separated by plastic wrap. Depending on the business volume, you can do
    20 or so a day. Don't season ahead of time or cukes will deteriorate. Cut
    back on the gelatin as much as you can as you get used to using it. You
    don't want it to be noticable, just an adhesive and protector for the cuke.
    Another interesting presentation is to weave them, not shingle them. Takes
    longer at first, but, you don't need the gelatin. Just criss cross as your would
    palm leaves. Cucumbers make such a beautiful presentation. IMOHO
     
  9. greasechef

    greasechef

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    [​IMG]

    I've made this salad I do not know how many hundreds of times. Slice the cuke thin with a mandoline or slicer. You do not need salt or gelatine, or a PVC pipe to hold it together.

    Make the circle with the cuke, lay it on the plate, and then stuff it with your greens. If it unwraps, slice thinner next time.

    It's been seven years since I worked at the place where this picture is from. We made this salad to order, cukes were sliced daily. We did not use anything to hold it together. Oh, but do make sure that the cucumber strip is long enough, it really needs to overlap.
     
  10. diane

    diane

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    That is just lovely. I sincerely wish I could eat cucs. But will do it for others who can. One could do it with zucchini maybe. It would be quite fun if, in spite of good advice here, one still couldn't get them to hold their shape, to tie them with a thin length of green onion top. We call them spring onions here, and use the whole thing, white and green in the medley that goes into potato salad. The greens are nice sliced and scatted over parsley scrambled eggs. Perhaps cheese scrambled eggs.