Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kitchening: Smoked Salmon Mousse Cucumber Cups

That is quite the mouthful, ya? I was trying to decide what appetizers to make for catering at twocities gallery a few weeks ago, and an old Martha Stewart Weddings magazine on my shelf had this recipe. No, I'm not married, and no, you should not judge me for owning Wedding magazines...I promise they're all Martha's, no Southern Bride or Bridal Living.

First, I bought some English cucumbers (Chinese ones are long, skinny, worty, and have more juice so not the best for this experiment.) Then I hollowed them out and I've got this picture right here just to prove that even if you don't hollow out the cucumbers all pretty, no one will be able to tell. Also, I made them sort of striped by running a vegetable peeler down 3 sides (I know...cucumbers don't have sides). Even though they weren't even, it was hard to tell once they got cut into bite sized pieces.

I say all this so you won't be scared away by these little gems. They were a bit time consuming, but lots o' fun to make.
 Also, I made a double batch, which ended up with a lot of leftovers despite some 50 or 60 cucumber cups. Next time--more cucumber less mousse.

Smoked Salmon Mousse Cucumber Cups
adapted from Martha Stewart Weddings

1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi (or 2 to-go packets)
6 ounces smoked salmon
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/8 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon paprika
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
4-5 English cucumbers (maybe more)

Dill sprigs, for garnish (after an unfortunate and unintentional binge of dill one summer, it's not my favorite herb, but it does go well with salmon)

  1. Put the lemon juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons cold water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over it and let it soften for about 5 minutes. Whisk boiling water into gelatin mixture until incorporated. 
  2. Puree gelatin mixture with onion and wasabi in a food processor until smooth. Add salmon, creme fraiche, hot-pepper sauce, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Nobody wants lumpy fish mousse.
  3. Whip cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the pureed salmon mixture until mostly incorporated. Mine was a little streaky, but I thought it looked more interesting that way.
  4. Slice cucumbers 1 inch thick. Scoop out some of the seeds from each slice to create a the cup. Had I a little melon balller, it would have worked perfectly. (Cucumber cups can be covered with a damp paper towel and stored in a plastic container; refrigerate for up to a day before using.) Using a pastry bag fitted with a fancy star tip of some sort, pipe mousse into cucumber cups. Garnish with dill. Chill cucumber cups until mousse is set, about 30 minutes. Pop into your mouth immediately.

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