Every year, cucumber season rolls into my garden and every year I try to figure out how to use them up before they take over my refrigerator. I’ve cooked them (stir-fry is good and the French do a nice job too). Salads are great, of course (here’s an Asian inspired one). Cold cucumber soup is always a delicious solution because cucumbers are hot season, summer vegetables and a chilled soup can be so refreshing. This soup requires absolutely no cooking at all. Just need a blender. It’s really a cucumber buttermilk smoothie!
Cold Cucumber Buttermilk Soup
2 scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped
2 pounds cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 cups (1 quart) low-fat buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 pinch to ¼ teaspoon cayenne (adjust according to your heat tolerance)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and small-diced
For most blenders, you’ll need to make this in 2 batches. Put 2 cups of buttermilk, ½ of the cucumber, the scallions, and all the seasonings in the blender and puree until the mixture is smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining buttermilk and cucumber. Pour this into the already blended stuff in the bowl. Mix to combine. Cover and place in the fridge for about an hour to allow the flavors to meld a bit. Taste for salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Chilled soups often need more salt because the cold mutes the seasonings. Adjust according to your taste.
To serve, pour into bowls and garnish with a little diced cucumber and a mint sprig.
Keeps in the fridge for a couple of days.