I wanted to make a soup for the first course of my dinner last night, but it was too hot to make a normal soup, so I went looking for a cold soup. I would have liked to make the Hungarian fruit soup that my friend Sarah made for me last time I visited her in Israel, but I forgot to ask her for the recipe. So I made the chilled cucumber soup with mint recipe from Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast instead.
If you want to make this soup plan ahead, as it has to chill in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. I only let my soup chill for a couple hours and it wasn’t cold enough. Berley says you can also blend in an ice cube to chill it down, but I think that would make the soup too watery.
The recipe is very simple. You peel and seed 1.5 pounds of cucumbers and then blend them with 1 cup plain yogurt, a little olive oil, a touch of red wine vinegar, a Tablespoon of mint, a clove of garlic, and a little salt and pepper.
Derek really liked the soup. I couldn’t tell what my dinner guests thought because I only made 4 servings, so they couldn’t ask for seconds. I’m not sure what I thought either. It certainly wasn’t unpleasant, but I’m not sure yet whether I like it. I’ll have to make it again to form an opinion.
I served the soup with a dollop of roasted red pepper / corn sauce in the middle (recipe coming soon). The contrast in colors was pretty, but I didn’t know how to achieve that pretty swirl effect that they do in restaurants.
Update July 2011: I made this soup with whole milk yogurt, measuring all the ingredients carefully this time. After blending together all the ingredients the soup tasted a little bland to me. I ended up adding quite a bit more mint and then it tasted better, but still seemed to be missing something. Derek ate his soup with quite a bit of extra red wine vinegar. He said he liked it a lot. I thought it was pleasant. It was reasonably tasty but not exciting. I would have liked some kind of extra sauce to drizzle on top.
Note: I found another chilled cucumber/mint soup recipe on Epicurious, which is similar but the seasoning is different and it has significantly more mint. I haven’t tried it but here it is for comparison:
- 3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped, plus 1 cup peeled, seeded, and finely diced cucumber
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon English-style dry mustard, or to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- cucumber slices and mint sprigs for garnish