Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Wraps with Paradise Seeds — Rouleaux de saumon fumé au concombre et graines de Paradis

Smoked Salmon and the story of the Grand Canyon: are they related?

When the salmon is coming fresh right from Ireland, I have all the good reasons to think about more fancy ways to eat smoked salmon. In many ways I find it ironic to realize that I really now eat smoked salmon on a weekly basis-even daily- when while I was growing up, smoked salmon was really only reserved for special occasions. Christmas in France was and remains a time when smoked salmon can be seen as a delicacy on your table. Do I think it is better that I eat it very often? It actually has me wondering. You might think it is a bit crazy, some of my friends do, but I have always had an inclination for being deprived of one thing to truly appreciate it again. Within limits of course, je ne suis pas folle tout de même! (I am not that crazy!)

Take this example.

In the spring of 1995, while I was spending my first year in the US, I travelled a lot throughout the country. In April of that year, I enrolled myself to do a 6-day hiking trip in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. I had to have the real American experience, you see, l’Amérique avec un grand A! I believe that anyone who has hiked the Grand Canyon could report that it is simply a beautiful place. BUT. Because there is always a but! (with “one t” please, I know how to spell!) For 6 days, we did not see a soul around as we carried our heavy backpacks down to reach the canyon. Down down before going up up. Now, as much as I love backpacking and hiking, every minute was not true joy. I remember principally my backpack which very soon became my enemy. I started hating my backpack so much. It felt so heavy at times that during my most extreme angry times (yes you can get a bit grumpy, you know), all my thoughts were focused on trying to find out how I could get rid of it. I felt I was bearing my cross. I was then thinking, “Wow if this feels heavy, what would it have been if I had taken all the other things I had first envisioned packing?” Which comprised fresh juicy oranges, saucisson, red tomatoes, in other words, solid heavy food. I remember packing my bag and thinking that it could have been perfect if I had had a little donkey carrying all of my treasures. But my reality was different as I was to be the donkey and there was no way I was going to be able to sustain the load of these extra delicacies. Relunctantly, I had had to remove my most fancied foods from my bag and thus, during our 6-day hike, I ate anything (rehydrated food) but fresh food. Incidentally, anyone who wants to have a good insight as to what the backpacking life can be like has to read A walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. I just adored that book! But I am disgressing and should go back to my story. After 6 days without a shower and any fresh fruit or vegetables intake, I will have to share the following: the first shower felt like Heaven and the first bite in a piece of fresh fruit was like injecting 200% joy in me. The missed food and shower, or the fresh towel felt like gold in my hands. But I truly enjoyed and loved the Grand Canyon (although I got lost at some point while I was too busy taking pictures, yes I said it, I got lost in the Grand Canyon but here I am now, so that was not too bad after all). I hiked the Grand Canyon. Tick!

Why am I saying this again?

Ah yes smoked salmon. So whether it is a good thing to have it often or keep it special is debatable. I however enjoyed this dish and did not think twice about it. Irish smoked salmon is good! Especially when it was specially brought to me from Ireland.

Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Wraps with Paradise Seeds

You need:

  • 150 g soft goat cheese (I bought Soignon Fromage de chèvre à tartiner– found at Whole Foods-, or use ricotta cheese)
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tsp graines de paradis (Paradise seeds) (Hédiard)
  • 4 slices of good smoked salmon
  • 1 small cucumber (Lebanese style)
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Dash of Maldon sea salt
  • Fleur de sel
  • Pepper
  • Chives


  • Wash the cucumber and cut it in halves, and then in quarters
  • Keep 1/4 of it that you cut in small cubes. Take the rest (3/4) and cut them in long sticks.
  • Mix together the goat cheese, the squeezed lemon juice, chopped spring onion and capers.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and the cubes of cucumber.
  • Add the crushed Maldon sea salt and pepper, with the Paradise seeds. Adjust if you prefer the cream more or less liquidy. Mine was more liquid than set.
  • Take small plates and place a slice of smoked salmon flat on top.
  • In the first left corner, place a small amount of cream and 2 sticks of cucumber.
  • Fold making sure if you will enough of the salmon slice to do 2 more layers.
  • Place again cream and cucumber sticks.
  • Finish by folding the last part and decorate with more cream, a cucumber stick and chives.
  • Sprinkle with fleur de sel and more Paradise seeds.
  • Place a drop of olive oil on top.

Adapted from a recipe from Cuisine Gourmande

Serve! This is a very easy refreshing appetizer.

Posted in Appetizers, Fish, Gluten Free


  1. These look fantastic, I am drooling on the keyboard!

    Béa, what should I make for French Easter? I am thinking of roasting a piglet, any ideas? We are having company (half french and half american…) any ideas for me, my grande maistresse of the cuisine?

  2. magnifique! comme d’hab’!
    je sais je me répète, pis ça a l’air trop bon, cette recette fraîche!

  3. Béa, are grains de paradis actually grains of paradise? If so, Amanda Hesser uses them all the time, and she discusses them in her book, Cooking for Mr. Latte.

    Rachel and I bought some at Zabar’s, in Manhattan. I really like the citrusy flavour they have — the taste reminds me of a Terry’s chocolate orange, actually.

    If it is, in fact, grains of paradise, I think it’s also known as guinea pepper or alligator pepper.

  4. For some reason the image of a donkey carrying all of your essentials is staying on my mind. I wish it were true so that you could have posted a photo!! 😉 Love that book by Bill Bryson…I wish he would go on another long hike and write about it again!

  5. Waou, i like this recipe and the pictures are beautiful …
    I like hiking too : Marocco, or Cappadoce …. Belgium …

  6. I’d never even heard of Paradise seeds till now! I’m intrigued now … and hungry too. Darn!

  7. hi. great blog. i stumbled in from another foodie blog. I added your blog as a link on mine. I hope you dun mind. cheers, shaz a foodie blogger from singapore

  8. Anne, ah mais oui, il est bien là!

    Riana, ahahah, please please, I feel like a queen. ah ok, not bad to feel this way after all! What about lamb? This is what my mum always made actually. Traditional but can be very nice. And I love love strawberry cake or tart for dessert. Let me know what you decide.

    Lilizen, ahah, merci!

    Rob, the seeds are “Graines de paradis” indeed. The company that makes mine is Hédiard. They are really citrusy and peppery. You are the real encyclopedia! Merci

    Rowena, yes that would have been funny indeed. I like the idea of a donkey with me all the time actually, not to even mention I love donkeys as animals! So cute!

    Fabienne, yes hiking is the best. Just love it.

    MM, yes they are great seeds. For a lot of dishes. Mine are originally from Ivory Coast as I read on the bottle. Hungry? You? Never!

    Shaz, thanks for your nice note. Of course I do not mind. I will check yours!
    Thanks for stopping by!

  9. What a fantastic post! You are such an excellent writer and you tell the best posts. Great recipe too!

  10. What a visual delight! This is one of the most esthetically impressive blog I have seen! I hope to be able to prepare some of these beauties, too

  11. estas son las presentaciones que enamoran los fe licito por tan maravilloso arte ,nuestro arte soy cocinero y busco nuevas presentaciones y preparaciones y ustedes son de una gran hayuda para mmi y mi arte perdon nuestro arte mil felicitaciones

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