Cucumbers are a hearty staple in the spring and summer; but they can also now be found all year long in grocery stores. The mild taste of cucumbers and the unique shape of the vegetable make them an ideal base for a variety of appetizers. Knowing a few great cucumber appetizers is a great thing to know as most cucumber based appetizers can be whipped up in no time and make for a great presentation and taste sensation as well.
One option is to go basic but bold. This is where pairing freshly sliced cucumbers with just a couple ingredients makes for a healthy and fun appetizer. Cucumbers are sliced in to one-quarter to one-half inch slices and the skin and seeds are left in tact to add to the richness of the dish. On top of each slice, sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning and then top with a sprig of fresh parsley to make for a very simple yet very flavorful appetizer.
A different idea is to use cucumber slices as a replacement for bread or crackers. This is where cucumber sandwiches are created and the sliced cucumber acts as the outside of the appetizer. This requires sliced cucumbers that are one-half inch thick so that they can hold up to the filling. A good filling for these sandwiches is a mixture where one block of softened cream cheese is mixed with one-quarter cup chopped roasted red peppers and two to three tablespoons of dill. The mixture is well blended until creamy and placed between the cucumber slices.
Another twist involving cucumbers as an appetizer is a cucumber sandwich. This is where party bread or bread cut down in to two inch by two inch squares is used to hold the cucumber inside. The best bread for this dish is something hearty and flavorful such as pumpernickel, marble rye, seeded rye or sourdough. The bread is placed on a plate and on top of a slice, one slice of cucumber and one small piece of smoked salmon is placed. This is a simple finger sandwich bu the salmon and cucumber truly compliment one another.
Yet another appetizer is a slight twist on a Greek favorite. Cucumbers are sliced thin and placed in a bowl or on a plate as they will be used to scoop up a rich and creamy dip. The dip consists of one pint of Greek style yogurt, the juice of one-half of a lemon, 1 clove of finely minced garlic and 2 tablespoons of dill weed. This is a play on the creamy cucumber filling found inside a gyro but deconstructs the ingredients to make for a fantastic dip style appetizer.
Cucumber is highly versatile and one of the top appetizers for cucumbers is a cucumber creation station. This is a fabulous appetizer to set out at larger gatherings as guests create their own flavor pairing by using the ingredients that have been placed out on the table. The ideal way to make this work well is to slice up 5 to 6 cucumbers in to slices that are one-half inch thick and place them on a large tray. The tray is then placed on a table and in small cups or dishes the toppings are placed behind that tray of cucumbers and thus guests make their own appetizers. This is almost a twist on an ice cream bar but works well for adults who want to be creative.
The options and choices of items to include in this do it yourself cucumber bar are almost endless but there are some top choices that should definitely be used. Good choices for those bowls of toppings include minced green peppers, marinated artichoke hearts chopped roughly, fresh dill, lemon wedges, slice smoked salmon, capers, diced red onion, garlic yogurt dip, hummus, Gouda cheese, cubed summer sausage, cubed garlic bologna, diced jalapenos and an assortment of seasonings in shakers such as lemon pepper, black pepper, salt and paprika.
From cucumbers served on a vegetable platter with a simple dip to cucumber sandwiches; cucumbers truly are a versatile food and make for a great basic appetizer ingredient. Ideal for any time of the day or year they are truly an ideal food.