Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cucumber Gazpacho

Recently my mom was given a full bag of beautiful garden grown cucumbers. Unfortunately, my mom does not like cucumbers so there was no way she could use them all even if she just fed them to my dad. Lucky for me, she handed the bag over to me to come up with some creative way to use all of those cucumbers. Although I like cucumbers in salads and mixed with tomatoes and feta, I didn't think I could use them all that way before they started to go bad or I started getting sick of them. So instead, I decided to make a cold cucumber soup of sorts. I love all different types of gazpacho, which are cold soups generally based around tomatoes. After a quick search on Epicurious, I found a recipe that I liked enough to use as a base and went from there.

To be honest, I didn't have very high hopes for this soup as I was making it. I don't have a food processor or blender (I'm holding out for a possible wedding present!), which would have made this much easier. Instead I used an immersion blender, causing a fair amount of splatter. I was also afraid there wouldn't be enough flavor since cucumbers are pretty mellow on their own. However, the cool and creamy soup was absolutely delicious and was made even better by the sweetness of the shrimp on top and the crunch of the cucumbers left out of the pureeing process. Cold soups are especially wonderful when it's so hot outside and the thought of cooking over a hot stove and then eating a hot meal sounds less than pleasant. I served this soup as an appetizer but with some bread and maybe a tossed salad, this could also serve as a meal. This recipe makes only about 2.5 to 3 cups of soup so plan accordingly.

Cucumber Gazpacho
  • 6-8 small cucumbers or 2-3 large
  • 3/4 cup, loosely packed fresh herbs (I used basil and mint)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce
  • 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Remove the peel and seeds from the cucumbers. To easily remove the seeds, cut the cucumbers into quarters lengthwise, then cut into each quarter on a diagonal.
Small dice about 1/4 cup of the cucumber and set aside. Roughly chop the rest, about 3.5 cups.
Separate 1/4 cup of herbs and finely dice. Add to the reserved cucumber.
Combine the chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup herbs, garlic, ginger, olive oil and yogurt in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
Season with about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and a few dashes of hot sauce.
Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the shrimp for about 1 minute, until pink throughout. Remove and let cool.
Chop the cooled shrimp into small pieces and combine with reserved cucumber and herbs. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Adjust the seasoning in the soup and ladle into individual bowls. Top each with a small mound of the shrimp and cucumber mixture.

For a printable recipe click here

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