three cool cucumber soups
I have friends coming for lunch this week and a friend reminded me of these cool cucumber soups I posted some time ago under Sieglinde’s Page on the top Menu bar,”recipes” on the drop down. Daniel Boulud’s is still my favorite version, so elegant in presentation, but for everyday, Mary’s is the easiest and quickest to make.
Daniel Boulud’s Refreshing CHILLED CUCUMBER SOUP
This soup is super elegant when served with the grissini – slender Italian breadsticks – as a garnish. I’ve made it for luncheons and am always asked for the recipe. As you can see, it is considerably more time consuming than the previous two recipes but well worth it for a special occasion.
4 large English cucumbers (about 3 lbs)
½ large red onion, chopped*
2 cups spinach leaves, packed
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 Tsp. olive oil
1 lb. Idaho potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt**
¼ cup heavy cream
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt, Pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set a bowl of ice water on the side. Peel the cucumber, reserve the skins and roughly chop the flesh. Boil the cucumber peels with the spinach leaves until tender, about 4 minutes, then chill in the ice water. Drain, squeeze dry and set aside.
In a large sauce pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, potatoes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onions are tender but NOT browned, about 5 minutes. Add half of the cucumber flesh and just enough water to cover. Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and chill. (My version: set aside to cool).
In a blender, combine chilled mixture with the cooked peels and spinach, remaining cucumber flesh, yogurt and cream (you may need to do this in batches). Puree until very smooth, then pass through a fine mesh sieve. (I know that’s the proper thing to do but I cheat and skip the sieve).
Chill the soup. When ready to serve, adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, garnish with:
½ bunch dill*, chopped fine and combined with 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, zest and juice of 1 lemon. Top each soup serving with a spoonful of the dill yogurt mix. Serve the remaining yogurt on the side.
*remaining ½ onion and ½ bunch dill are used below to make garnished grissini sticks.
**I will use whatever yogurt I have but I do try to buy Greek, plain, when I shop for this dish.
Boulud also suggests garnished grissini sticks to serve with the soup: Wrap small slices of smoked salmon around one end of each stick, then garnish with minced red onion (from the half left over from the soup), and remaining dill leaves (the other half of the bunch). Lay one stick on the edge of the soup plate.
If you want to see a picture go to elledecor.com/Daniel and enter cucumber soup into Search. This was published in Elle Décor magazine, can’t tell you what year, the page I tore out doesn’t say, but Elle Décor at the bottom states “for more Daniel Boulud recipes, go to elledecor.com/Daniel)