From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering
Although I am not of Lithuanian descent, I have taught Lithuanian cooking classes for many years and spent a month in the capital city, studying Lithuanian food and culture. This is my favorite of various recipes I have seen or tasted. I like the clean, fresh taste. Sometimes I go overboard with the dill and it tastes a bit bitter, so beware!
Lobster transforms this salad into a celebration meal fit for a wedding, but feel free to leave out the fish. It works just as nicely as a vegetarian cucumber salad. If using shrimp, go for overall quality rather than fresh vs. frozen.
- 1 European/English seedless cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and cut into ½-inch cubes. You can also thinly slice the cucumber.
- 3-4 tsp hot pepper jelly (optional)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sour cream (full fat is most traditional, but you can use lite sour cream)
- 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill or more to taste, plus additional dill for garnish
- 2 tbsp chopped green of green onions
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- freshly ground pepper
- ½ lb cooked, shelled shrimp
- 1/4-1/2 lb lobster tail or claw meat
1. Melt the hot pepper jelly in the microwave in a 2 c jug or bowl for about 15 seconds, then stir in the sour cream with the salt, dill, parsley, green onions, pepper and sugar. Add the cucumber and mix well. The pepper jelly gives a slight bite to the salad and the sugar in the jelly mellows the acidity.
2. Add shrimp and some of the lobster chopped. Keep the nicest whole pieces of lobster as a garnish. Taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
3. Stir and sprinkle with additional dill to serve. Scoop portions of salad onto either complete Romaine lettuce leaves or cups of Bibb lettuce. Garnish with slices of lobster tail or complete piece of claw meat. Serve with tiny fingerling potatoes and a tomato bruschetta salad or carrot salad for more color.
Tips/Alternatives: Some recipes add chopped hard boiled egg, horseradish and mustard to this recipe. Also try smoked trout, fresh trout or smoked salmon instead of the shrimp. You can, of course, make this without the fish as an excellent cucumber salad.
Apart from the sour cream version above, I love making this with crème fraiche. You can also make it with half lemon yogurt and half lite mayo. I don't recommend using non-fat sour cream. Calorie totals vary by brand, but as a rough guide:
- 1 cup lite sour cream is 280 calories,
- 1 cup mix of gluten-free lemon yogurt and lite mayo is 380 calories
- 1 cup of crème fraiche is 540 calories. (I make my own crème fraiche with a 50/50 mix of heavy cream and lite sour cream, warmed and left to thicken)
The traditional recipe adds 1-2 tbsp capers for an extra pickled flavor.