Along with a bag of carrots and a stalk of celery, I keep a cucumber or two in my refrigerator. Most of the time, the cucumbers are eaten raw, but we like them cooked, too. During a bumper crop season a few years ago, I tried to spice up a bland batch of sauteed cucumbers and this was the result. —betteirene
cloves garlic, pressed
cucumbers, any variety
unsalted butter or light olive oil
red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
sugar, light brown sugar or honey (to taste)
In a small bowl, combine vinegar and garlic. Set aside at room temperature for a half hour, then strain out the garlic.
Peel the cucumbers, leaving narrow streaks of peel. Cut in half lengthwise and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice each half crosswise into 1/2" crescents, place in a colander set into a bowl or the sink, sprinkle with 2 tsp. Kosher salt and set aside for 15-20 minutes. Rinse and pat the cucumbers dry.
Use the butter to grease a cold skillet; place the skillet over high heat. Allow the butter to melt and add the cucumbers before the butter begins to brown. Saute, stirring frequently, until cucumbers just begin to caramelize, 3 to 5 minutes. If cucumbers exude juice during this time, spoon them off as they accumulate.
Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and stir, then add the garlic-infused vinegar and stir. Add the sugar, turn the heat to low and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, sprinkle with the optional dill and additional salt and serve hot or warm.