With a glut of Cucumbers from the garden I was pressed to “come up with a method to get rid of them”, as the weather was quite warm I did try cucumber vichyssoise, but that did not prove to be very successful with the customers who indicated a preference for other things on the menu by a process of not ordering it. So in desperation I made this cucumber mousse, then had to come up with something to sell it hence the Warm Prawn and Tomato salad, that worked! now I am struggling to find enough cucumbers and had to take it off the menu because I ran out of prawns.
Cucumber have a bad press and have done for quite some time:
Waverley Root The cucumber is “…. about as close to neutrality as a vegetable can get without ceasing to exist.”
Samuel Johnson is reputed to have said:
“A cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing”
Funny, I always thought it was someone else long before Dr Johnson?
Mr Johnson or whoever is wrong though, the problem is you need to remove the water before using the cucumber, that way you also remove the “neutrality”. You do this by peeling removing the seeds slicing and then sprinkling with salt and a little caster sugar and leaving to to drain for about 15 minutes -some say longer and who am I to argue, but if you leave it to long you tend to get the salt in rather than the water out– then squeezing out the excess water in a clean cloth.
1 large cucumber, prepared as above.
2 leaf gelatine
125 ml double cream
250 g ricotta
white pepper unless you prefer black specks in your mousse in which case use black pepper!
Small handful of freshly chopped chives and spring onions (scallions)
a little chopped tarragon
Lightly oil some moulds, whip the cream to soft peak, soak the gelatine in cold water for 6 minutes, put the ¾ of the cucumber in liquidiser and pulse until mostly smooth, heat a tablespoon of water and dissolve the gelatine then stir in the cucumber purée, quickly add ricotta the herbs pepper and scallions whilst stirring until combined, then fold in the whipped cream, spoon into moulds cover with cling film and place in fridge to set about 2 hours.
For a lighter vegetarian option omit the gelatine and spoon or pipe and serve in ramekins.
Cut large uncooked prawns in half down the back remove the intestine tract, you will need two or three per person.
skin tomatoes cut into quarters de seed and cut then into slices
a few basil leaves roughly chopped
squeeze of lemon Juice
and the reserved cucumber slices
table spoon olive oil
Heat a frying pan pour in the olive oil and then toss the prawns in the pan until cooked through, add the lemon juice, pepper, basil and cucumber just before serving toss in the tomato slices
Turn the mousses out of their moulds and onto plates, spoon prawn salad on the side, serve.