A beautiful presentation. Herbed cheese heaped into a cucumber cup and topped with smoke salmon and fresh parsley. Every bite is packed with flavor.

3 8-inch long cucumbers
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
¼ pound smoked salmon
Several stems of fresh parsley

Create cucumber cups:
Wash and dry the cucumbers. Score them lengthwise with the tines of a fork. Cut them horizontally into ½ inch pieces. Using the small end of a melon baller, a small spoon or paring knife, cut a shallow cup into the top of each round. Wrap the cucumbers in several layers of paper towels and place in the refrigerator overnight. The paper towels will absorb excess moisture.

Prepare the herbed cheese:
Clean the garlic and push it through a press or crush with the side of a knife blade and chop to pulverize. Wash and finely chop the parsley.

Place the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl or bowl of food processor. Add garlic, parsley and seasonings. Cream by hand until thoroughly blended or pulse in processor.

Pack the herbed cheese into a lidded container and allow to stand, refrigerated, over night.

Assembly:
Wash and pinch parsley just below joints to create sprigs. Cut the salmon into1-1/4 x ½ inch strips.

Fill each cucumber cup with cheese, mounding slightly in the center and spreading almost to cover the edges. Place two strips of salmon, crisscross fashion, over the center of each cheese filled cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley.

Roll any left over cheese into small balls and roll in freshly ground pepper or additional chopped parsley.

Arrange on a pretty serving plate. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Yield: 36 – 48 cucumber cups

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