Gratin Cucumbers

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4 long English cucumbers
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
freshly ground black pepper
2 slices dry bread
1/3 cup grated Gruyère

Prepare cucumbers by peeling and cutting off ends, slicing lengthwise, and removing seeds. Cut into 2-inch-by-1/4-inch batons. Combine with vinegar, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Let soak for 30 minutes up to 1 hour.

Drain cucumbers and pat dry. In a large gratin dish, combine cucumbers with half the melted butter. Spread cucumber evenly. Season with pepper.

Break bread into breadcrumbs using a knife or a food processor. In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs with remaining butter. Spread mixture over cucumbers. Season with salt and pepper. Top with cheese. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Remove cover and continue to bake until top is brown and cucumbers are tender when pierced, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.




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