It’s the peak of summer, and you’re probably thinking about tomatoes. I don’t blame you – their narrow in-season window breeds demand, and there’s not much else more refreshing on a hot day than a fresh tomato, whether it’s sliced up with burrata, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic, or sandwiched between slices of Pullman loaf with a generous slather of mayonnaise on either side. Except, maybe, a cucumber.

Unlike tomatoes, cucumbers grow all summer long and well into early fall. Perhaps we’ve started to take them for granted. Cucumbers are naturally cooling and keep their satisfying crunch in sandwiches and salads. You can use them to flavor water and cocktails, yogurt sauces and chilled soups. You never have to fear biting into a mealy cucumber. And yet, cucumbers get treated like the stepchild of the summer fruits.

The following recipes are just a few entry-level ways to make better use of cucumbers on those hot days when you just can’t turn on the stove or oven. Two are iterations of the classic smoked salmon and cucumber sandwich, and one is an update on the cucumber tea sandwich, which you’ve maybe never given much thought to before. Each speak to the cucumber’s wide-reaching versatility even within one genre. When your tomatoes are a little past their prime and you need something stronger and more dependable, reach for a cucumber.

Cucumber, Goat Cheese, and Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Furikake Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Sandwich

Raita Cucumber Tea Sandwich


Brooke Kushwaha, like many others, spent the past couple of years obsessing over what to cook for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while restaurants were closed or take-out only. Her writing has appeared in V Magazine, L'Officiel USA, the Vineyard Gazette, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine.