Cook Your Cukes

By Morgan Katz | Will Blunt


Morgan Katz
Will Blunt

“When I staged at Bror in Copenhagen, they served grilled cucumbers with lamb. I ate that dish and was like, ‘Whoa.’ It was unlike anything I’d ever eaten, and I still remember it three and a half years later.” Pulling from his Nordic stage and time at Uchi, Chef and Culinary Director of Houston’s Kirby Group, Brandon Silva, builds his menus with vegetable-forward dishes. At Wooster’s Garden, the unassuming cucumber is the backbone of an elegant, memorable composition. “I see cucumbers as the Brussels sprouts of 2019. Usually we see cucumbers as something cold and raw, something pickled. I approached the cucumber like a steak.” Here’s the breakdown: 

The cucumbers are grilled over Japanese charcoal—Silva likes the flavor of the smoke—for five minutes on each side to get a charred exterior that gives way to al dente flesh reminiscent of zucchini.

Silva makes it rain Dukkah—the Egyptian spice blend consisting of coriander, sesame, pistachios, sesame seeds, and mint—over the cukes, adding texture and depth.  

Salmon Roe
Throwing ikura into the mix, Silva says, “The salmon roe really plays on the palate and contributes a briny, seafood flavor. It’s unexpected and really makes people think.” Plus the tangerine spheres pop against the yellow-green of the cukes. 

Cucumbers scream for something creamy, and Silva answers with a luscious bed of yogurt spiked with lemon, bringing the dish together.

Echoing the mint in the dukkah, thin ribbons of the fresh herb are delicately strewn atop the veg, freshening things up a bit.

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