We had a small, intimate cocktail party gathering at our house last night for fifteen people. Nothing terribly fancy, just laid back, casual fun with friends. When I was coming up with ideas of which hors d’oeuvre to serve, I came across the ever inspiring White On Rice Couple’s post on stuffed cucumbers. They were so beautiful, and so simple that I decided I would borrow the concept and make something similar, only with smoked salmon instead of prosciutto.
I began by peeling stripes into two English cucumbers (select the straightest ones you can find of similar size) with a vegetable peeler (I do this for no other reason than to make them look prettier, as English cucumbers are thin skinned and not waxed, and therefore need not be peeled). I then sliced the cucumbers into about one inch thick coins. And with a melon baller, scooped out about a teaspoon’s worth of the seeds, creating a little cup in which to put the stuffing. For the filling I combined one eight ounce package of softened cream cheese, with about a cup of sour cream, one garlic clove (which I grated on my microplane zester), a couple of heaping tablespoons of chopped fresh dill (though I imagine chives or tarragon would be equally delicious), some freshly grated lemon zest, a dash of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and about a half a teaspoon of prepared horseradish (the cucumbers themselves aren’t seasoned so you want the filling to be extra flavorful). I made little smoked salmon roses by cutting long, thin triangles of the smoked salmon (maybe two and a half to three inches in length), and rolling them up from the tip to the base into little spirals. Once rolled, with the back of a pairing knife I gently fold back each of the “petal” layers, and set aside. Right before I was ready to serve I lined up the cucumber cups on a large white platter, and piped in about a teaspoon and a half or so of filling (using a zip lock bag with the corner snipped off) into each. I then topped each of them with a dill frond, and then with the little smoked salmon roses. (Keep in mind that the cucumbers, filling, and roses can be prepped up to two days in advance, carefully wrapped, refrigerated, and merely assembled before serving… which makes them great for entertaining.) They are beautiful, rich, creamy, and delicious. They have an almost tzatziki like flavor to them which is a perfect backdrop for the salty smoked salmon. Simple. Easy. Beautiful. Delicious. Enjoy!