These charming little cucumber cups are a delightful party hors d’oeuvre. The cool, crisp flesh of the cucumber is a perfect counterpoint to the saltiness and texture of the caviar, while the champagne onions (featured in last week’s recipes) add a whimsically sweet note to the composition. The same cucumber cup technique can be used for many other hors d’oeuvres, including mini gazpacho shots, or a piping of mousse, or herbed crème fraîche.
12 hors d’oeuvre servings
2-3 seedless hothouse cucumbers
½ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
½ cup purple champagne onions
1 ounce caviar
1 hard-cooked egg yolk
1-inch chive batons, for garnish
Hard boil the egg and remove the yolk. Pass the cooked yolk through a fine mesh sieve with the back of a spoon to produce a fine texture. Set aside.
Use a channel cutter to remove thin strips from the cucumber at about ¼-inch intervals. Remove the ends and cut the cucumber into 1-inch sections. Using a melon baller, remove some of the center pulp from one end of the cucumber, being careful not to cut too deep into it. It is important that the bottom remain intact.
Spoon a little crème fraîche into the cucumber cup, or use a piping bag. Next, spoon a little of the champagne onion into the cucumber cup, then top with a small spoonful of caviar. Garnish with a sprinkling of egg yolk and a chive, if desired. Serve immediately, or keep chilled for up to one hour. Remove from refrigerator 10 minutes before serving to allow cucumber to return to room temperature.
[Chef’s Note: Remember that caviar can take on a metallic taste if it comes into contact with a metallic spoon, so be sure to use a proper mother of pearl caviar spoon, or a plastic spoon.]
Recipe and photo by Mark Tafoya