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Gravadlax with cucumber and watercress cream

Gravadlax - smoked salmon flavoured with dill and white peppercorns - is a popular choice for a first course, and is conveniently sold pre-packed in supermarkets. Here it is enlivened with dilled cucumbers and a creamy watercress sauce to make a pretty, light starter.

ingredients

serves 4
12 thin slices gravadlax or smoked salmon

for the dilled cucumber:

large cucumber
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt

for the watercress cream:

100 g (3 1/2 oz) Quark soft cheese
100 g (3 1/2 oz) very low fat natural fromage frais
85 g (3 oz) watercress, trimmed
1 tsp creamed horseradish
freshly ground black pepper

to garnish:

watercress sprigs
lemon or lime wedges

method

1. To prepare the cucumber, peel, halve lengthways, scoop out the seeds and slice thinly. Place in a bowl with the chopped dill and wine vinegar, season with salt and toss to mix well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

2. To make the watercress cream, place the Quark and fromage frais in a bowl and stir until smooth. Finely chop the watercress, then stir into the Quark mixture with the horseradish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until needed.

3. To assemble, divide the dilled cucumber between 4 plates and arrange 3 slices of gravadlax alongside. Place a dollop of watercress cream to the side, and garnish with watercress sprigs and lemon or lime wedges.

Cook's note
A terrific tool for finely chopping watercress and fresh herbs is a mezzeluna - an Italian curved chopping blade. Available from kitchen shops, it is very efficient and easy to use.

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