This is my modern take on the Middle Eastern salad of cucumber, yoghurt and garlic. Very refreshing and visually pleasing, it makes a delightful starter.
● 100g very soft goat cheese or cream cheese
● 1 cucumber (small Mediterranean one, if possible)
● Extra virgin olive oil to mix
● Pinch of za'atar herb and spice mixture
● Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
● ½ clove garlic to taste, finely minced or crushed
● 1 fresh tomato, diced (for garnish)
● Wash the cucumber. Do not peel. With a potato peeler, slice the cucumbers length-wise into paper-thin strips and lay them flat on a chopping board.
● Mix the soft cheese with two tablespoons of olive oil or more to make a smooth paste. Add the cayenne pepper, the salt and the garlic and mix well.
● Put a teaspoon of the mixture at one end of the cucumber strips and roll carefully to the end. Do this with as many strips as you need.
● To prepare individual servings, drizzle a little olive oil on each plate and arrange upright with four or five rolls per person. Decorate with the chopped tomato and sprinkle liberally with za'atar. You can drizzle on more olive oil if you wish.
● Serve with warm wholemeal pitta bread.
● Variation: Make one cucumber roll per person. Put two tablespoons of yoghurt in the middle of each individual plate. Pour two tablespoons of olive oil over it. Season. Stand the roll in the middle of the yoghurt. Arrange a few cucumber slices all around the plate and decorate with the chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle generously with za'atar.