My mother used to tell me that if you can find only one great recipe in a cookbook, that the book would be worth the price you paid for it. I agree. Now, I’m all for experimenting and cooking up your own creations without the need of a recipe. I get it. However… I find reading cookbooks relaxing. As a matter of fact, I have been an avid cookbook reader for so many years, my collection of books tops 300 in number at this point. And that’s after I weeded out and donated some while in the process of packing up and moving to our new house. (In truth…I was really trying to make a dramatic, illustrated point to husband Gary, that if I could be brave and bold enough to eliminate some of my precious cookbooks from our household clutter, he should certainly be able to get rid of his old beer signs, beer mugs, baseball hats, jerseys….sigh…it didn’t work.) Anyway… what does all this have to do with this show-stopper of a recipe from Gourmet Parties cookbook? Nothing really, except that even though the book has numerous excellent “make again” recipes to choose from and I highly recommend it, this Smoked Salmon, Cucumber, and Dill Mousse is the one I will always remember it by. There hasn’t been one party or gathering that I’ve ever taken this to where it didn’t receive rave reviews and be the first hors d’oeuvre to be gobbled up by guests. Not only are people impressed by the stunning visual presentation, but the taste is simply out of this world. People can’t stop eating it. You’ll see. The best part is, you’ll never have to tell them how ridiculously easy it was to make.
Soak the chopped red onion for about 5 minutes in cold water. This is how I do it. Then pat dry with paper towels.
Line your oiled cake pan with the saran wrap.
Even though you are using “seedless” English cucumbers, you need to scrape out the small seeds with a spoon before dicing.
Dump all the ingredients into a bowl.
Dissolve the unflavored gelatin in the water in a small heatproof cup on the stove.
When I went in for a closeup of this, is when I realized there are some inherent risks to my safety and life with this blogging deal. Of course it didn’t occur to frightened-and-floundering me until after I took the shot, that I could have simply turned the flame off. (…Sigh)
Mix the dissolved gelatin mixture into the bowl of all the dumped ingredients and spoon into the prepared cake pan.
(Almost done, Ralphie… hang in there, buddy…)
Top with cucumber ribbons and enjoy!
Smoked Salmon, Cucumber, and Dill Mousse
1 pound smoked salmon (preferably unsliced), skinned, pin bones removed and fish cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 2 cups)
(I’ve used both unsliced and regular sliced smoked salmon and it turns out beautifully, so don’t fret this. ~Julie)
2 cups 1/4-inch dice seeded seedless (English) cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill sprigs
1/3 cup chopped red onion (about 1 small), soaked in ice water to cover 5 minutes, drained, and patted dry
2 1/4 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons cold water
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
Garnish: thin cucumber ribbons made by cutting 1 large seedless cucumber lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
Accompaniments: assorted toasts and/or crackers
Lightly oil an 8-by-2 inch round cake pan and line with plastic wrap.
Spread 1 1/4 cups salmon evenly in cake pan. In a bowl stir together remaining salmon, cucumber, dill, onion, sour cream, lemon juice, and zest until combined well.
Put cold water in a small heatproof cup and sprinkle gelatin over it. Set cup in a saucepan and add enough water to pan to reach halfway up side of cup. Heat gelatin mixture over low heat until gelatin is dissolved and stir into salmon mixture. Season mixture with salt and pepper and spoon over salmon in cake pan. Chill mousse, covered with plastic wrap, at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.
To unmold mousse, invert mousse onto plate. Loft off cake pan and peel off plastic wrap.
Garnish mousse with cucumber ribbons and serve with toasts.