heyn the first really hot day of the year, i went out and bought a carton of gazpacho from sunnier climes – when it’s so hot your trainers stick to the tarmac even i’m on the side of anything other than cold liquids I lose my appetite for And nothing is more refreshing than the cucumber, a vegetable that is 96% water and 100% delicious, green cool. Many cultures around the world have cucumber soup recipe in their repertoire – Iranian abdul khyariIndian Cucumber Broth and polish chowlodnik ogorkovyTo name a few – and here’s mine.
It’s time to focus on cucumbers, so often simply sliced and tossed at the last minute for salads, as with more than just a crunchy bit on the side. Most soup recipes call for peeling it before using (and if you’re planning on serving it in elegant little cups, that might be the way to go), but I like the mildly bitter taste of the paper-thin coating. like. Your average British cucumber, so I’m going to keep going. However, I would remove the seeds, as they taste very little and run the risk of leaving your soup watery. (Note, if you have cucumbers that are rough for the skin, peel them; it’s a one-minute job, after all.)
Chef Anthony Demetre cautions readers of his book Today’s Special to avoid the temptation to skip “the process of salting and spoiling: Cucumber juices may be less bitter than previously thought, but they’re still quite indigestible”. Huh. He and Simon Hopkinson both sprinkle the cut pieces with salt and leave it to extract the juices from the meat, which leads me down an interesting rabbit hole that ends in the quest for “boreless cucumbers”. (As Jane Grigson notes, they are “known to be coily”) is a relatively recent phenomenon in the very long history of cucumber appreciation. They now seem to be almost the only show in town in the UK (unless, as chef and food writer Thom Eagle informs me, you get lucky with heirloom varieties), and salting them takes the finished product to some degree. There’s a risk of saltiness to the palate, so I’m going to skip this step—but, again, if you’re using homegrown or otherwise more airy fruits, as Grigson also charmingly says, then You may wish to do so. Simply scatter them with a little salt and then leave in a colander for half an hour before continuing with the recipe.
Chef Tom Kerridge lightly fried cucumbers, which makes his recipe a half-home between the raw versions of Demetre, Hopkinson and others and the cooked types featured in Margaret Costa’s Four Seasons Cookery Book and Clarissa Dixon Wright’s Comfort Food , which seem to link back. The hot cucumber soup of Eliza Acton and her Victorian ilk. While I can’t detect any real difference in taste, except for the fact that cucumbers take on the flavor of the oil or butter in which they’ve been cooked, and that softer cucumbers are certainly easier to puree, I Loth Hoon to recommend turning on the stove to heat unnecessarily, not least because it means the soup will take longer to cool down to serving temperature.
Of course, removing the seeds because they’re too watery may seem counterintuitive to some, given that the soup needs to be diluted with something, and it’s actually sparkling in the version in her book Best Ever Dishes. Water is included, explaining that it helps make the dish “really light and airy”. Like the other recipes I try, however, that dairy in the form of Greek yogurt, also a classic pairing with cucumber Adds it. Calls for what he describes as plagiarism in the kitchen, “far on the far side of the spectrum from Greek yogurt, of Basque origin, fermented and much lighter”, although that sheep or goat yogurt can be substituted. Henrietta Clancy uses natural yogurt in his book Just Soup, and Paul Geller, with Greek Yogurt, made from cucumbers. With Kale Pani, in my collection of Great Homemade Soups.
Hopkinson, whose soup actually has “the most flavorful combination of flavors,” mixes yogurt and single cream with chicken stock (from a cube, for preference) and tomato juice, says Dixon Wright with single cream and chicken stock. are taken, which is thickened with a roux. , and Costa chicken stock and cream thickened with both flour and egg yolk. Delicious as Costa’s soup is, it tastes more like a rich, cold chicken soup than anything fresh from the garden, while Hopkinson’s has a distinctly sophisticated complexity that, while a joy to eat, in my panel of tasters The cucumber doesn’t scream. We all love simple cucumber and dairy soups, deciding that the ideal combination for freshness is the lightness of yogurt (I like Meads’ goat variety) with the tartness of something like creme fraiche or sour cream. If you want a lighter result, you can replace the creme frache with enough cold water to achieve a pourable consistency, although if you do, I’d suggest serving it in smaller portions.
to make delicious
As with so many dishes, alliums are worth a look here, but not as Kerridge’s onions or Costa’s shallots, both of which require cooking, but garlic, which can simply be grated or chopped and shredded. Is. Feel free to add more to the recipe below if you want a Tizzy kind of vibe, but remember that a little garlic can easily overpower a lot of cucumber. Kerridge also adds a mild green chili, which I consider to be a stroke of pure genius: though it contributes little in the way of heat, its herbaceous flavor, especially given the cooling effects of both the dairy and the cucumber. The greenness works wonderfully to enhance the similar flavor in cucumber. on one’s own.
Herbs are also popular, especially mint, chives or dill. I’ve gone for dill, as it delightfully reminds me of pickled cucumber, but if, like many people, you’re not a fan of its anise flavor, swap in your favorite soft herb instead. The tartness of the yogurt means there should be no need for a spritz of citrus in Kerridge, Costa, and Dixon Wright’s recipes, but taste it and see—brands, as well as taste buds, vary.
Although I stuck with diced cucumbers and chopped herbs, it’s easy to make a more substantial dish by topping this soup with curls of smoked salmon and, as Demetre recommends, cooked prawns. That’s in Hopkinson’s recipe (an excellent pairing with sweet, juicy little North Sea numbers), or chopped walnuts, to keep it vegetarian. To spice it up, you can end the soup with a pinch of cayenne or more chopped chilies, or, of course, you’ll add a big splash of frozen vodka, if you want to live life to the fullest. Can be served with. Well, if it’s good enough for Tom Kerridge…
Perfect Cucumber Soup
to submit Ten minutes
2½ large cucumbers
1 small garlic clovepeeled and crushed
1 mild green chilitrimmed, seedless and roughly chopped
300 ml whole milk plain yogurt (I like goat)
100 ml full-fat creme fraicheor sour cream
1 small bunch dill, mint or chives
Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise…
… then filter and remove the watery seeds.
Roughly chop two cucumbers and put them in a blender along with the garlic and peppers.
Add yogurt and creme fraiche or sour cream, and blitz until fairly smooth.
Roughly chop the leaves of your chosen herb, and blend most, but not all, in a blender, along with a pinch of salt. Whiz again, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
If you have time, refrigerate the soup.
Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining cucumber. Divide soup among bowls, sprinkle with cucumber slices and remaining herbs, and serve.
Cold soup: the best way to cool off on a hot day, or clearly less than an ice lolly? Besides the obvious contenders like gazpacho, what are your favorite recipes?
Felicity Cloak’s new book, Red Sauce Brown Sauce: A British Breakfast Odyssey, is published by HarperCollins for £16.99. To order a copy for £14.78, visit Guardianbookshop.com