7.12.10 Chilled Out

Cucumber soup 790 xxx
photo by george billard
There's scarcely a better way to combat a heat wave than with a cold soup. The recent rise in mercury has prompted a spate of dinners at home consisting of nothing more than salads, so the occasional soup is a nice substitute or supplement. They keep fairly well and can be easily transported to work in a glass jar or thermos. (Try to wean yourself from phthalate-ridden plastic containers; invest in a set of these.) Food52's cucumber challenge several weeks ago prompted a number of cold soups but most of them contained dairy, which we're currently avoiding because of G's latest protocol. Fellow blogger and extremely talented chef Pork to Purslane (currently residing in Amsterdam) submitted one that is rendered supremely creamy with the use of avocado. I adapted it according to my what I had on hand and my craving for a bit of spice.
Young garlic 790 xxx
garden variety
Until the tomatoes ripen and we're off on a quest for the perfect gazpacho (almond oil? tomatillos?), this smooth, green concoction really hits the spot. Cucumbers' high water content contributes to their cooling effect; they're also rich in vitamin C and potassium and support good digestion. Feel free to add chilled poached shrimp or a crumble of feta cheese, some toasted nuts or a handful of croutons if you'd like to have a bit more protein or texture. In a rush? No one says you can't serve this over ice.

Cold Cucumber-Avocado Soup

adapted from Pork to Purslane; serves 2-4
  • — 5-7 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced
  • — 2 teaspoons vinegar (rice or apple cider are nice)
  • — 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • — generous teaspoon sea salt, plus more for seasoning
  • — 1 large, ripe avocado
  • — 2 tablespoons chopped fresh young garlic, or scallion or shallot
  • fresh lime juice, to taste
  • — 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • diced cucumber and/or chopped cilantro for garnish

Place sliced cucumber in a large bowl. Toss with sea salt, vinegar and honey, and marinate for at least one hour, or up to three. The salt should draw liquid, which will aid with pureeing (alternatively, you could have a shorter marinating time and use more water for blending, but I expect this will dilute the flavor).

Peel and pit the avocado and add to a blender along with the cucumber mixture (and all of the liquid that’s been released), the chopped garlic, jalapeño and the lime juice (start with a tablespoon and add more later to suit your taste). Add a generous pinch of sea salt. Puree until very smooth, about 2 minutes, adding filtered water to facilitate blending until desired consistency is achieved (not as thick as baby food, but more viscous than juice).Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Chill until ready to serve. Divide soup amongst chilled bowls, garnish with chopped cucumber and a sprinkling of cilantro.

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This sounds great. Cold soup is totally the way to go lately. We just made cold corn soup and over the weekend, we had cold Cantaloupe soup with ginger and yogourt. Yum!
Rob Lee on July 12, 2010 at 5:26 pm —
Mmmm...can't wait for the corn to appear here—and for you to post that cantaloupe soup recipe!
laura on July 13, 2010 at 2:29 am —
I find that a can of light coconut milk is a great substitute for dairy in any creamy soup - cold or hot. A wonderful cucumber dill chilled soup that I made last year comes to mind.
Alyssa on July 13, 2010 at 5:03 am —
Interesting. I would think that might impart a flavor that would dictate the rest of the soup, no? Not that it would be a bad thing, but that it would demand Indian or Southeast Asian spicing. I'm curious to see how that would pair with dill.
laura on July 13, 2010 at 5:36 am —
I'd like a good recipe for sopa de limon. I had all I could eat when I last visited Yucatan. Do you have one? .
Vivian on July 14, 2010 at 6:55 am —
Vivian, In fact I do have a wonderful recipe for the classic Yucatecan sopa de lima. It's from Rick Bayless, who always has rather involved and very authentic recipes, so I'll make it soon and post about it, maybe suggesting some shortcuts. Stay tuned...
laura on July 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm —
Laura, I was behind on my blog-roll and just now came upon this post. What a compliment to have you post this recipe! I love your addition of jalapeno and garlic...I'll have to try that soon! Thank you!
Michelle on July 27, 2010 at 2:42 am —