RUSSIAN GHERKINS WITH SMETANA AND HONEY
This popular Finnish appetizer of pickled Russian gherkins, smetana and honey forms a delicious combination of opposite flavours of salty, sweet and sour.
To obtain the right effect of flavours, it is most important to use genuine Russian-type, unsweetened fermented gherkins and not the regular, vinegar and sugar pickled gherkins.
To understand the difference between Russian-type and regular pickled gherkins, read more about them here.
Russian-type pickled gherkins
Depending on the size of the gherkins, reserve 2 to 3 of them per diner. Cut off a tiny bit from the ends of the gherkins and cut them lengthwise into long wedges. Divide the wedges on small, individual serving plates.
Take a tiny cup or bowl for each diner and fill it with honey. Stir the smetana smooth and pour in a bowl. Whip it with an electric mixer until it is fluffy and firm enough to be piped, like whipped cream.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star-shaped nozzle, pipe a large rosette of whipped smetana on each plate, next to the gherkins. The gherkins are dipped by hand in honey and smetana and then eaten.
Among intimate friends, you can serve the gherkins in one large bowl or plate, with the honey and unwhipped smetana poured in two bowls and served as "dipping sauces".
In picture on right: gherkins with honey and smetana served in a Russian restaurant.
The dish can also be served as a piquant salad by mixing thinly sliced or cubed, drained gherkins with honey and smetana. Serve the salad to accompany meat or fish dishes.
Recipe source: family recipe/traditional Finnish recipe.