Cucumbers are the oldest cultivated vegetable in the world, originating in ancient Persia to use as a water source when traveling.
Today, cukes are used primarily in salads, yet they are delicious when cooked in savory main dishes. If you're old enough to remember when poached salmon covered with thinly sliced cucumber "scales" was a buffet table centerpiece, served with tomato aspic, pumpernickel bread squares, sour cream and lemon wedges, you'll like this dish. It has those flavors.
Serve on cocktail-size pumpernickel bread, atop egg noodles or as a side dish with grilled meat. Refrigerated leftovers would be great for topping blini at brunch.
Servings: 12 appetizer servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, cut into small dice (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 medium clove garlic, cut into thin slices
- 3 cucumbers, peeled seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 18 ounces total)
- 1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 to 1 cup)
- About 3 fronds of dill, finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces crème fraîche
- 4 ounces Greek-style yogurt
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 ounces smoked farmed salmon, trimmed, cut into small dice (available at Whole Foods Markets)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the oil and onion. Stir to coat; reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic, cucumbers, tomato, dill, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, then reduce the heat to medium-low.
Add the creme fraiche, yogurt and lemon juice; stir to incorporate.
Add the salmon and stir gently to incorporate, then turn off the heat. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before serving.
From Cynthia A. Brown, assistant director at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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