Ok, it's party season or you're having friends over, and you need a quick appetizer to serve. What do you do? Is there a favorite "go to" recipe you make?
My favorite appetizers include things like my homemade French Onion Dip served with vegetables and chips. Sometimes I make Bruschetta, especially in the summer when I use my ripe tomatoes from the garden. Garden grown tomatoes always have the best flavor. However, what recipe do you use if you want an appetizer that's a bit more grown up and fancy?
Zakuski is the Russian version of Hors D'oeuvres or snacks, and literally means to bite after. Usually after a shot of vodka, if you drink vodka (not all Russians do!). Zakuski are usually part of the first course of a dinner party. Foods include caviar, meats, salads, cheeses, open sandwiches, pickled vegetables and other finger foods. Think of it as a fancier and more extravagant meat and cheese platter (but on a dinner table). I love making these Cucumber Appetizers as part of my Zakuski Appetizers.
How to make Cucumber Appetizers
This has got to be one of the easiest ways to make canapés or appetisers, use cucumbers! They're so easy to slice into round pieces to use as your base. Cucumbers add a freshness and lightness to your appetizer, especially when compared to using bread as a base. Plus it's a gluten free appetizer if your guests require it.
Making the cream cheese base is easy, by mixing in some sour cream. That's it. But don't skip the sour cream, as it adds a smoothness and mellowness to the flavor, and is easy to spread. Just make sure you mix the ingredients together until they are fully mixed. The cream cheese is harder in consistency and you might need to mix vigorously. Some people mix herbs like fresh dill into the cream cheese mix, but I prefer the simplicity .
So, what's left? The toppings! Being Russian, I will default to Salmon and Caviar, with a sprig of dill of course! You can buy smoked salmon, but I make a Salmon Gravlax with Beets and Dill, which makes the cool pink color around the salmon. The colors look amazing as an appetizer, and it's a great conversation starter too.
Isn't Caviar Expensive?
The other "go to" Cucumber Appetizers topping for me is Caviar. But don't freak out, it doesn't have to be expensive. Of course, if you buy Sturgeon Caviar and are a connoisseur of caviar, then don't make this recipe. Check out my caviar recipe ideas, and How to eat Caviar post. Expensive caviar should be eaten alone, in small amounts, on a special spoon. However, there are great alternatives to expensive caviar. Lumpfish Caviar is easily found, and usually under $10, even Walmart sells it. This is what I use when making Cucumber Caviar Appetizers.
Cucumber Appetizers with Smoked Salmon (Gravlax) and Black Caviar are healthy appetizers. These easy Hors d'oeuvres or Zakuski are perfect for your next party. These Cucumber Bites don't requiring cooking, are low carb and gluten free. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 2 Long English Cucumbers
- 8 oz /250g cream cheese
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Gravlax or Smoked Salmon thinly sliced
- black lumpfish caviar
- fresh dill
- Slice the cucumber into ¼" thick rounds (can go as thick as ½") .
- Mix the cream cheese and sour cream together in a small bowl.
- Lay the cucumber slices on a platter or serving board. Spread a layer of cream cheese mixture onto each cucumber round. Top with thinly sliced Gravlax or a spoonful of Black Caviar. Garnish with fresh dill. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Best served cold.