Chilled Cucumber Soup
Here’s another one of those no-cook recipes when the summer heat has you fleeing your stove. It also is timely for those of you gardeners who have more an abundance of cucumbers. I’m not growing any in my small plot, but my niece Keri gave me a couple from her garden, and I think I put them to good use in this recipe, from Melissa Clark of The New York Times.
You’ll note there are anchovies in the recipe and they are listed as optional. But DON’T leave them out, even if you hate anchovies (are you listening, Marie?) You absolutely cannot taste them in this recipe, but I guarantee you, the soup won’t be as flavorful without them. Cucumbers are so mild that this soup needs the jalapeño, the herbs, the garlic, the vinegar and yes, the anchovies, to give it the umph it needs, lest it turn out as a bland bowl of puréed cucumbers. Trust me on this one, please. And don’t leave out the corn garnish. The extra texture and taste really lends it a nice finishing touch.
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- 1 pound cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 cups buttermilk (I USED 1½ cups plain yogurt plus ¼ cup water)
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 2 anchovy fillets (optional)
- 2 small whole scallions, trimmed
- ½ jalapeño, seeded, deveined and chopped
- ½ cup packed mixed fresh herbs (like mint, parsley, dill, tarragon, basil and cilantro - I USED DILL AND PARSLEY)
- ½ teaspoon sherry or white wine vinegar, more to taste
- ¾ teaspoon kosher sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 ear of corn, shucked, kernels sliced off
- Fresh dill, for serving
- In the bowl of a blender or food processor, combine cucumber, buttermilk, garlic, anchovy, scallions, jalapeño, fresh herbs, sherry vinegar and salt.
- Blend until smooth and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Let the soup sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours to blend all the flavors.
- Distribute soup between 4 bowls and garnish with raw corn kernels and a drizzle of olive oil.