This potted salmon makes a great appetizer. The horseradish cuts the richness of the salmon and the pickled cucumber lifts everything. It looks great, too. If you’re pressed for time, you can eat the cucumbers right after making them, but they are best after a few days.
The salmon will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.
For the salmon
- 1 1/4 pound salmon fillet, boneless and skinless
- Salt and pepper
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tablespoon chives, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon Chervil, chopped
- 3 tablespoons horseradish sauce*
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
For the pickled cucumbers
- 4 cucumbers
- 1 2/3 cups white wine vinegar
- 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 red chile, split
- 1 bay leaf
For the cucumbers:
- Peel the cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. To remove the seeds, take a teaspoon and make a trench down the center, carefully scooping out the seeds.
- Cut the cucumber halves into 1-inch lengths, then slice each one into four sticks. Place in a bowl or pan and set aside.
- Boil the vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, and chile in a heavy-bottomed saucepan for 2 minutes, then add the thyme and bay leaf. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the cucumber. Cover with a lid or foil and set aside to cool.
- When they are completely cold, pour the cucumber and pickling juices into a sterilized preserving jar and seal tightly. Label with the date. The pickled cucumbers will keep for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
For the salmon:
- Season the salmon with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the salmon to the pan. Leaving the salmon in the stock, set it aside to cool.
- Once the salmon has reached room temperature, remove it from the stock, flake it into large pieces, and place them in a clean bowl.
- Add the lemon juice and zest, the chives, chervil, horseradish sauce, and salt and pepper. Pour in 3/4 cup of the melted butter and carefully fold everything together.
- Divide the mixture evenly into individual ramekins. Pat the mixture down into the ramekins with the back of a spoon until the surface is flat.
- Pour the remaining melted butter evenly over the top, making sure you cover the salmon with at least 1/4 in of butter. Then place the ramekins in the refrigerator to chill.
- Take the potted salmon out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Serve with toast, salad leaves and some pickled cucumber.
*To make a simple white horseradish sauce, combine 1 cup sour cream, 3 tablespoons finely grated, peeled, fresh horseradish root (use the smallest holes on a box grater), and several grindings of freshly ground black pepper. Taste the sauce and add more horseradish, if desired.
Fresh horseradish has an intense flavor and heat, which is why you should start with a small amount and only add more horseradish if you like your sauce with a kick.