Savory summer mousse

Savory summer mousse
Savory summer "mousse" with cucumber, mint, dill, and garlic.

Tzatziki is a Greek cold sauce made with yogurt, cucumber, and garlic. Sometimes dill or mint is added.

Tzatziki became famous with the rise in popularity of Greek cuisine, especially in the United States. For the uninitiated, the white sauce that comes with gyros is tzatziki.

I came across something unusual, tzatziki “mousse”. It was the traditional recipe for tzatziki, sans garlic, made into a semi-solid “ mousse”. There is a name for people who leave garlic out of a recipe, Crazy.

It was more the technique that got me, not the tzatziki or calling it a “mousse”. I've made mousse, mousseline, and terrines, sweet and savory,  in the traditional or classic manner.

This seemed too easy and interesting to let go. The presentation looked pretty good too.

So not to offend my Greek friends or become the victim of the moutza, double moutza, behind the back moutza, or moutza to the head, I came up with my own version and name.

I did this to see if it works, has good taste, and texture. I used half ricotta and half yogurt.

This recipe technique is similar to making panna cotta, one of my favorite desserts.

This “mousse” can be an accompaniment to a plated salad, served with olives or other tidbits, meat, fish, or poultry. You can spread it on bread. It can be a substitute for yogurt with roast peaches and basil.

The "mousse" has the consistency of a spread or whipped cream cheese.

Recipe:

1- small or 1/2 large cucumber

Kosher or coarse sea salt

Coarse ground black pepper

1- envelope gelatin (21/4-21/2 tsp.)

1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves

1- Tbsp. Fresh dill, finely chopped or 2 tsp. dry dill.

1- Tbsp. Finely chopped chives or minced shallot. (optional)

1- cup full fat Greek yogurt (That lite or no fat stuff is for crazy people who do not like garlic)

1- cup ricotta (No lite or low fat. See above)

You could add one cup of heavy cream and one half envelope more gelatin for a richer version.

3-4 garlic cloves finely diced or to taste (If you do not like the sharpness of pieces of garlic, paste the garlic( See video below) or use a microplane or garlic press.

1/2 small shallot finely diced- about a teaspoon or more (optional)

Zest of one lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions:

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Line a mold with plastic. Leave enough of an overhang to cover the top. Refrigerate.

Line a mold (loaf pan, narrow serving dish, terrine, etc. with plastic, leaving enough to cover the top hanging over the edges. Place in refrigerator.

Place garlic, yogurt, ricotta, lemon juice, zest, herbs, and pepper  into a bowl and mix. Set aside to let flavors meld about 30-40 minutes.

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Mix the herbs, lemon juice, garlic, and zest. Let sit for 30-40 minutes to meld the flavors.

Shred or grate the cucumber into a sieve over a bowl.

Sprinkle lightly with salt and either weigh it down or occasionally press on it with the back of a wooden spoon. Leave for 30-40 minutes. Get as much liquid out as you can.

Wrap cucumber in cheese cloth or paper towels to squeeze more liquid out.

Follow package instructions to soften gelatin. Each brand is slightly different.

Place a small amount of water into a pot and heat on low. Add softened gelatin and whisk until it is dissolved. This step insures no gummy bits in the finished product.

Add cucumber to yogurt. Season with salt to taste. Mix thoroughly with a fork or your hands. Check and adjust seasoning.

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Add the cucumber and gelatin. Whisk thoroughly.

Add in the gelatin and whisk thoroughly. Whisking adds air and keeps the product light.

Pour into mold. Wrap overhanging plastic over the top. Make sure the plastic has contact with the surface of the "mousse". Refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight.

To unmold:

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Unmold and enjoy.

Unwrap top

Turn over on a serving plate or platter

Slice into ½ inch slabs and serve.

Garnish with mint leaves or dill fronds.

You can lightly drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and/or add more coarse ground black pepper.

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