Crique Stephanoise

Makes 4 large pancakes (serves 4 to 6)

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus additional for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
Crème fraîche or sour cream
Smoked salmon
Finely chopped black olives
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Finely grated lemon zest
Finely chopped parsley leaves

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt, Dill, Smoked Salmon and Sevruga Caviar:
Serves 4
For the soup:
3 long European hothouse cucumbers
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small leek, trimmed, white and light green parts finely chopped and well washed
1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
4 sprigs fresh dill
2 sprigs fresh thyme
8 ounces plain yogurt
3 cups unsalted chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
4 drops Tabasco sauce
1/2-cup heavy cream, optional

For the garnish:
2 sprigs dill
2 ounces smoked salmon, finely diced
2 medium round pink radishes, trimmed, finely diced
Reserved cucumber from soup, finely diced
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper

To Serve:
1 ounce Sevruga caviar
Reserved dill leaves

Smoked Salmon Millefeuille:
11 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tabasco sauce
14 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
Toasted pumpernickel croutons
Fresh sprigs of dill
Caviar or salmon roe
Diced lemon segments

Grate the potatoes by hand or in a food processor using the grating blade with the smallest holes.  Scoop up ¼ of them with your hand and squeeze out the excess liquid and discard.  Put the handfuls of grated potatoes in a mixing bowl and add the eggs, and chives; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Mix well, until everything is very well blended.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick sauté pan over high heat.  Place ¼ of the potato mixture in the middle of the pan, with a spatula and your hands, spread the pancake out as thinly as possible until covers the surface of the pan.  Be careful not to burn yourself!  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook the pancake until the bottom browns, about 5 minutes.  Invert a plate that is just slightly larger than the pan over the top.  Flip the pan over so that the pancake drops onto the plate, then slide the pancake back into the pan.  (The brown side is now facing up.)  Cook for about 4 more minutes, until the underside is browned.  Flip the pancake over and onto a plate.  Keep warm in a low oven as you cook the others. Repeat these steps for the remaining pancakes, starting with 1 tablespoon of oil for each one.

To serve, top each pancake with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.  Place a small mound of the smoked salmon on top and drizzle some of the lemon juice over the salmon.  Sprinkle the lemon zest, chives, black olives, and parsley leaves over the pancakes; season to taste with salt and pepper.  Drizzle some olive oil around each plate and serve immediately.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt, Dill, Smoked Salmon and Sevruga Caviar:
For the soup
Peel the cucumbers and reserve the skin.  Cut off a 2” piece from one of the cucumber halves and reserve aside for the garnish.  Finely slice the remaining cucumber and set aside for the moment.  Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.  Fill a bowl with ice water and keep nearby.  Plunge the green skins into the boiling water and blanch for 2-3 minutes until tender yet still very green.  Drain and transfer to the ice bath to cool.  Drain and put into a blender.  Process, using a bit of water if needed, until smooth.  Reserve in the refrigerator until needed.  Warm the olive oil in a shallow pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat and add the onion, leek, celery, dill and thyme and season with salt and pepper. 

Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender and translucent, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Do not brown the vegetables.  Add the cucumber slices and cook for 2 minutes more before pouring in the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until all the vegetables are very tender.  Scoop out and discard the dill and thyme before transferring the soup to a blender.  Purée the soup (in batches if necessary) until smooth.  Strain the soup through a fine-meshed sieve and chill in the refrigerator.  When the soup is cool, add the yogurt, Tabasco, salt and pepper and purée until smooth.  Add some of the green cucumber skin purée until the soup is light green in color.  If you’re using heavy cream, stir that in too.  Strain once more to remove any bits of skin that are not finely chopped before covering the soup and returning it to the refrigerator until ready to serve.  (The soup can be made a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator overnight.)

For the Garnish:
Remove four small bunches of dill leaves and set aside to garnish the soup.  Pull the remaining leaves from the sprigs and chop the leaves finely.  In a small bowl, combine the chopped dill with the remaining ingredients and toss well to combine.

To Serve:
Divide the cold soup among four chilled bowls.  Spoon the chopped vegetables and salmon into the center of the soup and garnish with a dollop of caviar and some dill.

Smoked Salmon Millefeuille:
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap allowing it to extend over the sides
with a 5-inch overhang.  Make sure to push the plastic wrap into the corners of the
pan. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl with the mascarpone, lemon zest, lemon juice,
chives and dill; season to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco.  Divide the smoked salmon
in thirds.  Put 1/3 of the salmon in a thin, even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan,
overlapping the salmon slightly.  Using an offset spatula, gently spread half of the cream
cheese mixture over the smoked salmon.

Place another 1/3 of the smoked salmon over the cream cheese in a thin, even layer, overlapping the salmon slightly.  Spread the remaining cream cheese mixture over the salmon and put the remaining 1/3 smoked salmon in a thin, even layer on top of the cream cheese.  Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the millefeuille and freeze for at least 4 hours.  (The millefeuille can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, wrapped tightly, and frozen.) A few hours before you would like to serve the millefeuilles, using the plastic wrap to help you, remove the millefeuille from the baking pan.  Using an electric knife, trim the sides of the millefeuille.  Cut the millefeuille into 1/2- to 3/4-inch squares.  By the time you have finished cutting the
millefeuilles, they should be thawed out.  Using an offset spatula, place each square of
millefeuille on top of a crouton, garnish with a sprig of dill, caviar, or lemon segment,
and serve.  (If not serving right away, the millefeuilles, without the crouton, may be kept
covered in the refrigerator.)