Cooling Cucumber Soup
We grow cucumbers in our small urban garden and they are prolific! We eat a lot of cucumber relish (I made one recently with some pickled cherries added, delicious!); cucumber salad; smashed cucumber salad; and, of course, pickles. Jars and jars of pickles.
My husband likes a classic garlic and dill pickle. I like something a bit less acidic and tend to make my pickles with mixes like Chinese black vinegar, a touch of soy or ponzu, black peppercorns, and Asian spices. I'll be munching on those throughout the winter dreaming of next summer's harvest.
We're running out of pickle jars, so today I am getting creative with other recipes using up those tubular goodies. First, I made a cold cucumber soup.
Cucumber soup needs a little thought to avoid either a soup that has no hint of cuke or one that is terribly bland. After a morning of experimenting, I came up with this recipe and am quite looking forward to a bowl served with a crusty bread lightly brushed with olive oil and toasted.
Cold Cucumber Soup
This is a refreshingly cool and light summer soup. It could be served as an hors d'oeuvres in shot glasses or in a bowl beautifully garnished. I garnished with a dollop of sour cream (or creme fraiche) and a light drizzle of St. Germaine elderflower liqueur. If you are spirit-free, try our Elderflower syrup in its place.
I have included 3 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice in this recipe; the acidity is needed. However, I tend to like less acidic recipes and used Lindera Farms Wisteria Vinegar; it is a softer vinegar adding a bit of floral flavor and just enough acidity.
I recommend Laconiko Greek Koroneiki olive oil for this recipe. A fresh quality olive oil is very important here; it is too light to hide rancid or poor quality ingredients. You want a delicate fruity variety.
Finally, I used Kaffir Lime Leaves for the herb. This is a bit exotic; I just happen to have a tree in my garden. No need to seek out an Asian grocery to track down kaffir leaves; use fresh basil or lemon verbena in its place.
2 Lbs peeled, seeded, and cubed cucumbers
1 cup whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup fruity, delicate extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbl lemon or lime juice
6 Kaffir lime leaves (or 1/2 cup Basil; Lemon Verbena; or Tarragon)
3/4 Tsp sea salt
3 Tsp ground black pepper (not a typo! Spice is needed in this recipe)
3 Tsp honey
Sour Cream and St Germaine for garnish (Elderflower Syrup for spirit-free). Add a cucumber flower if you have any
Peel and seed cucumbers. Chop into 1/2 inch pieces
*Note: save those peels; they are great for infusing water or vodka.
Using scissors, cut the kaffir lime leaves into strips.
If using basil; just rough chop. For tarragon, remove leaves from woody stems.
In a blender, combine all ingredients except garnish: cucumbers, yogurt, herbs, olive oil, lemon or lime juice (or vinegar), salt, pepper, and honey.
Blend until completely smooth. Taste for any needed additions - salt, pepper, or honey would be the likely choices.
Chill for at least 4 hours.
Serve in bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of St. Germaine or Elderflower syrup. A light dusting of ground sumac or sweet paprika is quite lovely, too.
Leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.