Smoked salmon (or fresh sashimi-grade raw salmon if you prefer) makes the perfect no-fuss first course, topped with a cooling jelly, pickled cucumbers and a mustard, honey and dill sauce. Serve with grilled bread, melba toast or crispbread.
300g smoked salmon
2 tbsp dill feathers
Grilled country bread for serving
For the cucumber jelly
50ml rice vinegar
50g castor sugar
2 tsp powdered gelatine
250g unpeeled cucumber (Lebanese or continental)
For the pickled cucumbers
200g unpeeled cucumber (Lebanese or continental)
100ml rice vinegar
50g castor sugar
½ tsp sea salt
For the mustard honey and dill sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped dill
For the cucumber jelly, combine vinegar, sugar, 100ml water and a pinch of salt in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the gelatine until dissolved.
Roughly chop the unpeeled cucumber and whiz in a blender until pureed. Use a wooden spoon to push the puree through a sieve into a bowl. Whisk in the vinegar mixture, pour into a container and refrigerate overnight.
For the pickled cucumber, finely slice the cucumber and toss in the rice vinegar, castor sugar and sea salt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the sauce, whisk the honey, mustard, vinegar, olive oil and dill until thick and runny.
To serve, finely slice the salmon and drain the pickled cucumber. Drape the salmon over six dinner plates or one large serving plate. Arrange teaspoonfuls of cucumber jelly and pickled cucumber casually on top and drizzle with the sauce. Scatter with dill feathers and serve with grilled bread.
If you had to, which would you give up for a week?Related story: The best chocolate recipes ever