Smoked salmon cheesecake with salted cucumber

This week’s recipe is a little unusual in that it’s a cheesecake for a starter. Most of us will have tried the combination of smoked salmon and cream cheese at finger buffets so there’s absolutely no reason why it can’t work as a cheesecake.

As with the sweet variety, the base is made from biscuits and the choice of which type is yours. But be careful to check how salty they are and adjust the seasoning in the main mix accordingly. Oatcakes make a good base.

The method of salting the cucumber is a nice touch and removes excess liquid from the vegetable’s flesh. It can also be beneficial to use it on courgettes before cooking and, because the salt is washed off before cooking and eating, it doesn’t taste salty nor raise your salt intake.

Serves six to eight

100g savoury biscuits

50g butter, melted

500g full-fat cream cheese

150g smoked salmon

½ cucumber

Sea salt

Freshly-ground black pepper

In a mixing bowl, crumble the biscuits and mix in the melted butter. Spoon the mixture into a 20cm spring-form cake or flan tin. Press down making an even base and then refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

Put the cheese and the smoked salmon into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add a twist of pepper and maybe some salt but taste first and consider the taste of the biscuits with it. Spread the mixture on top of the biscuit layer and chill.

Slice the cucumber down the middle and scoop out the seeds. Slice lengthways into very thin strips. Place in a bowl and sprinkle on a few teaspoons of salt and mix. Leave the mixture for 30 minutes, pour into a sieve, rinse under cold water to wash off the salt and allow to drain.

Serve the cucumber alongside portions of cheesecake with maybe a little extra smoked salmon to garnish.