When relegated to the cold-and-crisp domain of salads, cucumbers are boring; you can only embellish a cucumber so many ways before you run out of ideas. But when you introduce gentle, moist heat to the equation, cucumbers take on a new life. Steaming opens the door to stuffing, and stuffings — seafood, ground pork or chicken, for example — breathe new life into the common cuke. Cook the stuffing through before you fill the cucumbers. Protein-based stuffings need to reach their safe serving temperatures before added to uncooked vegetables.

Things You'll Need


Boats

Scrub Japanese or English cucumbers under cold running water. Trim 1/4 inch from each end.

Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seed cavity. Turn the cucumber halves cut-side down on the work surface.

Peel about 1/4 inch from the top of each cucumber using a vegetable peeler. Removing this strip creates a flat area that helps to keep the cucumber upright when you stuff it.

Slice the cucumbers crosswise into 4- to 6-inch pieces. Spoon the stuffing into the cavity of each cucumber.

Fill a pot with enough water to reach about 1/2 inch below the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil.

Arrange the stuffed cucumbers in the steamer basket, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Set the steamer basket in the pot, and cover.

Steam the cucumbers for about 8 minutes. If you used a seafood stuffing, check that it reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit with an instant-read thermometer. If you used a ground-beef, pork or poultry stuffing, check that it reached 165 F.

Remove the pot from the heat and let the steam dissipate before removing the stuffed cucumbers. Garnish the stuffed cucumbers with fresh herbs.


Wells

Peel garden cucumbers and trim about 1/2 inch from the tips of each. Chop the cucumber crosswise into 2-inch pieces.

Cut out 1/2 inch from the center of each cucumber piece to make a well for the stuffing. Fill the well with the stuffing until it mounds about 1/2 above the tops of the cucumbers.

Fill a pot with enough water to reach about 1/2 inch below the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil.

Arrange the stuffed cucumbers in the steamer basket, spacing each about 1/2 inch apart. Set the steamer basket in the pot and cover.

Steam the cucumbers for about 8 minutes. If you used a seafood stuffing, check that it measures 145 F. If you used a ground-meat or poultry stuffing, check that it reached 165 F.

Remove the pot from the heat and let the steam dissipate before removing cucumbers. Garnish the stuffed cucumbers with fresh herbs.

References and Resources

The Cook's Thesaurus: Cucumbers