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Inn on the Twenty

Jordan, Ontario, Canada

Specialty Recipe

Cucumber Ricotta Torte with Smoked Salmon and Pelee Island Caviar

This is a very elegant-looking dish that tastes great with Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. Making the tortes ahead of time ensures that you won't be pulling your hair out during your dinner party. Always try to be a "guest" at your own parties!

This appetizer can be made into individual portions using ring molds, which can be cut from a 4-inch wide PVC pipe. For a single torte, a cake mold can be used. Whitefish caviar is light in texture, color, and flavor. While not uncommon, whitefish caviar might not be available. Flying fish roe is an appropriate substitute.

2 English cucumbers
Dash salt
Dash sugar
Splash rice wine vinegar
1-1/2 (680g) pounds ricotta cheese
2 shallots, minced
2 Tablespoons (30 mL) fresh basil chiffonade
2 teaspoons (10 mL) finely chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon (5 mL) finely chopped fresh marjoram
Salt and pepper
6 ounces (170g) smoked salmon
One 2-ounce jar Pelee Island whitefish caviar

Thinly slice cucumbers into rounds and toss gently with salt, sugar, and a splash of vinegar. This adds flavor and softens cucumbers for easier shaping. Let cucumbers sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix ricotta with chopped shallots and herbs to taste.

To assemble tortes, place ring molds onto a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet. Line bottoms of molds with cucumber slices, being certain to overlap slices. Using the same overlapping technique, line inside rims of molds. Spoon equal amounts of ricotta filling into each mold. Place a slice or two of smoked salmon atop ricotta. Layer overlapping cucumber slices on top of ricotta.

The tortes can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance and chilled until ready to use. To serve, place each torte on individual plates using a spatula and gently slide the mold off; the moisture from the cucumbers prevents any sticking. Spoon a little caviar on top. An addition of herb stems or finely diced peppers as a garnish adds a beautiful color to the surface of the plate. Drizzle a little vinaigrette around the outside of the torte just before serving. For a lunch entree, serve tortes on a bed of lightly dressed salad greens.

Serves: 6

This recipe was published in Inn on the Twenty Cookbook by Anna and Michael Olson, Whitecap Books (p. 126).

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