FIVE INGREDIENT COOKING: Cucumbers — fruit of many uses

Pam Griffin

Seared Scallops with Sautéed Cucumbers

2 large English cucumbers

1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

3 tsp. butter, divided

3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 1/4 lbs. large dry sea scallops, tough muscle removed

1 Tbsp. minced fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley for garnish, optional

Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise, scrape out seeds with a spoon and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Transfer to a colander set over a bowl. Toss with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside for 30 minutes to drain.

Heat 1 teaspoon butter and 2 teaspoons oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the drained cucumbers and cook, stirring, until wilted and beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in sour cream and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl.

Wipe the pan. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons butter and 1 teaspoon oil over high heat. Add scallops, season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Gently stir the cucumber mixture into the scallops. Serve garnished with dill or parsley, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Creamy Buttered Cucumbers

1 lb. cucumbers, peeled

1 Tbsp. salt

2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

Ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup sour cream

1 pinch dried dill weed

Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut into 3/4 inch chunks. If the chunks aren't firm, place them in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let drain 20 minutes (if they are firm you may omit this step).

Place butter in a medium to large skillet over medium heat. When it melts, add the onion and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the cucumbers and cook another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to low and stir in sour cream and plenty of dill. Stir and serve warm. Makes 4 servings.

Five ingredients do not count salt, pepper, butter, oil and optional ingredients.