chilled cucumber soup
We are nearing the end of July in South Florida and the heat is oppressive. Not as bad as it will be in August and September, but definitely up there on the suffering meter. During winter in Minnesota they have a PIP meter (pain in the posterior) that measures all nature of weather related suffering. I think it’s time that we in the southern climes come up with similar yardstick. How many consecutive days the thermometer reaches above 90? and the humidity levels never dip below 80%. How fast does your makeup melt off of your face? How quickly does an egg fry on the sidewalk? As I write this at 4:30 p.m. , the temperature is 91? with the feels like at 102?. Suffocatingly hot and sticky.
The only options are hibernating in the air conditioning, frequent dips in the pool and nonstop cold beverages. Of course, when it comes to cooking, the less heat, the better. No ovens or stove tops. I’m even considerate enough not to punish Scott with a 15-minute stint in front of a hot grill. So tonight, we’re having a cool, crunchy salad and I’m assembling a quick and tasty cold cucumber soup. I usually make a soup like this several times during the summer because it takes all of 10 minutes to make and the blender does most of the work. Love, love, love that!
For this one, I decided to create some contrast. The cool, refreshingly simple pur?e of cucumber and some herb-y cilantro partnered with a spicy pico-de-gallo. It’s soothing and fiery at once, with each component trying to neutralize the other.
I have used yogurt and buttermilk in past iterations of this soup, but today I substituted some silken tofu to create that velvety mouth feel and found that it’s a good substitute for the dairy. Which makes this a vegan recipe — whoa! Or it would have been vegan, if we didn’t add some shrimp at the last-minute (I know, I know). Well, I guess you can consider that a serving suggestion.
- 2 hot house (English) cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro (stems and leaves)
- 1/2 lb. silken tofu
- 6 ounces vegetable broth
- 1 large clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large, ripe tomato, seeded and finely diced
- 1/4 cup finely diced white onion
- 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- juice of half a lime
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt to taste
- In a blender, combine all ingredients for the soup. Puree until smooth. Refrigerate at least two hours to chill before serving. Season to taste.
- In a small bowl combine tomato, onion, jalapeño, lime juice and olive oil. Toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt accordingly. Chill two hours before serving for flavors to develop.
- To serve, ladle cold soup into chilled bowls. Carefully spoon pico de gallo onto soup so that it doesn't plop to the bottom, but rests gently on top. Enjoy!
- You can substitute regular kirby cucumbers, just be sure to remove the seeds. The seeds are negligible in the hot house variety, so I skip that step.