Cucumber linguini with fresh mint and fried capers

July 26, 2011

When summer is in full force, cucumbers follow suit in the most overwhelming fashion.

They are piled high on the shelves of every grocery store, where they sell for a pittance. You’ll find them in all shapes and sizes at your local farmers’ market. And, if you happen to be growing a couple of plants in your backyard, by now your harvest is so abundant that you’re giving your cukes to anyone who will take them!

So what do you do with all these cukes?

The first cucumber sandwiches are exciting and delicious for sure, as well as the summer tossed salads with lots of cucumber in it, but if that’s all you do with your cucumbers, soon enough you’ll have lost your enthusiasm for this prolific veggie.

But cucumbers happen to be very versatile. And with a little creativity, they lend themselves to many wonderful dishes… like today’s recipe.

Julienned into linguini size strips and tossed with fresh mint and a zingy vinaigrette, cucumbers here make for a very refreshing – not to mention stylish – appetizer. The fried capers that adorn this simple dish add an irresistible salty bite, a perfect contrast to the slightly sweet cukes.

By the way, the cucumbers you see in these photographs come from my own garden. I planted two Burpless seedless cucumber plants this spring and they now produce a dozen large cucumbers every week. I’m not giving mine away yet, though; because I’m experimenting like crazy… So you might see a few more cucumber recipes on this blog before summer is over!

White wine iconWith this appetizer I recommend serving a crisp, mineral-laden Albariño from Rías Baixas in northwestern Spain. The wine’s vibrant acidity is gorgeous with the cucumber and its inherent minerality pairs well with the briny capers.

Cucumber linguini with fresh mint and fried capers

serves 4
active time: 15 min

For the vinaigrette

  1. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  2. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  4. freshly ground white pepper to taste

For the cucumber linguini

  1. 2 large seedless cucumbers (2 1/2 lbs) (1.1 kg) – peeled
  2. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  3. 12 large mint leaves – cut en chiffonade (to watch a video of the chiffonade technique, click here)
  4. 6 golden cherry tomatoes – halved
  5. 1/2 recipe fried Capers
  6. freshly ground white pepper

  1. Step 1: For the vinaigrette – Place all the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk until well blended and set aside.
  2. Step 2: Cut the cucumbers crosswise in 6″ sections. Using a mandoline, julienne the flesh of the cucumber but not the seedy centers. (You should end up with 4 cups of julienned pieces). Place the cucumber strips in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt, mix well with your hands and let stand for 30 minutes.
  3. Step 3: Drain the cucumber in a medium sieve and press down with a wooden spoon to remove all excess juices.
  4. Step 4: Place the cucumber in a medium bowl. Add the fresh mint and the vinaigrette. Toss until well mixed. Spoon into four appetizer bowls. Garnish each bowl with 3 cherry tomato halves and a spoonful of fried capers. Sprinkle with white pepper and serve immediately.

appetizers, cucumber, mint

Viviane’s Tips
When cutting the cucumber in julienne strips, slice only until you reach the seedy center. Then turn the cucumber around, and continue slicing until all the flesh has been cut and only the seeds are left.

This is what it looks like when the job is done.

Alternatively, if you do not have a mandoline, you can slice the cucumbers by hand, using a vegetable hand-peeler. It’ll take a few more minutes, but it’ll do a good job. Your dish will look more like cucumber fettuccine though!

© 2014 Viviane Bauquet Farre Food & Style NY LLC

Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Blog is the New Black July 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Fried capers?! My fiance would go insane!


Viviane July 26, 2011 at 11:14 pm

No worries… My husband did go insane!


purabi naha July 27, 2011 at 9:45 am

wow, this looks so good…cucumber linguine! What a great idea!!


Isabelle @ Crumb July 27, 2011 at 10:35 am

This salad sounds like it would be so refreshing on a hot day… and those fried capers sound positively divine!
I’m jealous of your cucumber plants. We had three vines in our backyard vegetable patch last year, but we only managed to get two mature cucumbers at the end of summer. :( I’m sure this will taste just as good with store-bought cucumbers, though.


Viviane July 28, 2011 at 7:15 am

Isabelle, Cucumber plants are heavy feeders (as gardeners say). You need to plant them with a lot of compost and fertilize with nitrogen rich fertilizer like liquid seaweed once a month. Then they will give you an incredible supply of cucumbers. I hope you plant them again next year!


Parsley Sage July 27, 2011 at 11:19 am

Beautiful dish! Your own cucumbers too, so lucky :) Buzzed!


Viviane July 28, 2011 at 7:16 am

Thank you for the buzz dear – Yes, I know I’m lucky!


Ridwan July 27, 2011 at 11:31 am

i agree this salad is really good for hot summer day, so refreshing :) i would love to try those fried capers too.


Steph@stephsbitebybite July 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm

What a neat idea!! Totally want some of this!


Ann July 27, 2011 at 9:57 pm

This dish sound delicious and is SO elegant…I love it!


Mandy @ Cater to Me July 27, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I saw your fried caper recipe the other day and was wondering how I could incorporate it into a more substantial recipe (I would LOVE capers alone, but my roommates who are my food guinea pigs might be a little hesitant) and this looks absolutely perfect!


Viviane July 28, 2011 at 7:20 am

Mandy, the fried capers are unbelievably intense and go well with this dish because the cucumbers are very mild-flavored. But you can sprinkle them on lots of different things. So if you make them, don’t be shy… experiment.


Corina July 28, 2011 at 6:26 am

It’s unusual to see a recipe where cucumber really is the star. I love what you’ve done here and also the idea of fried capers.


Viviane July 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

Thank you Corina… You are so right! To me, every vegetable is a star, no matter how humble it might be.


Tessa July 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I definitely have to agree with that! This is such a great recipe, thanks for sharing. :) I really hate wasting anything so I was wondering if you knew of any way to use the seedy center? Thanks again!


Viviane July 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

Everyone, thank you for stopping by and for your wonderful comments – as always, you all make my day!


kita July 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

Ive never heard of fried capers! These bowls are simply beautiful. My father would love them as he is a huge fan of cucumber.


alyce July 29, 2011 at 8:41 am

this sounds de-lish. And your photos are beautiful!


a suburban kitchen July 29, 2011 at 10:02 am

Love fresh cucumbers. That dish looks so appealing.


Jessica July 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

Congrats on the top 9! I am a new follower!


Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes July 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm

This dish looks absolutely lovely, Viviane! You had me at fried capers. Congrats on a well-deserved Top 9!


Viviane July 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Thank you so much Meagan – I’m smiling from hear ot ear!!!


Sandra July 29, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Very creative and very pretty. Congratulations on being in the Top 9!


Jim @ Shrimp Calories July 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Very creative recipe, I am thinking of trying the exact same recipe and substituting cucumber with zucchini, or maybe 50% cucumber 50% zucchini or maybe try all three combinations and see what works best.


Kristi Rimkus July 30, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I’m going to have to get over my fear of using a mandoline. My mother bought me one, but I’ve been so afraid of the sharp blade that I haven’t used it. These cucumber linguine noodles are an inspiration to give it another try.


Viviane July 31, 2011 at 11:05 am

Kristi, the mandoline will open so many new potentials for you and for your cooking. Yes, you do need to be very careful, those blades are indeed very sharp. But go slowly at first and you can also buy one of these protecting gloves until you feel more confident with it: Good luck and thank you for your wonderful words too!


Lokness August 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I already feel cooler just to look at the pictures. It is perfect for the hot summery weather! Yum!


Angie@Angiesrecipes August 6, 2011 at 12:38 am

A very stylish and tasty cucumber salad.


Calories in Shrimp December 12, 2011 at 4:23 am

Very good recipe, I did make the exact recipe and it was great


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