This fresh first-course cucumber soup features the addition of avocado, which lends the soup a creamy touch as well as gorgeous color.
11 large cucumbers (about 8 pounds), divided
1/4 cup honey, divided
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cracked black pepper (optional)
Dill sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
Cut 5 cucumbers into 3-inch chunks. Place half of cucumber chunks and 2 tablespoons honey in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Pour pureed cucumber mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Repeat procedure with the remaining chunks. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
Peel, seed, and thinly slice remaining 6 cucumbers; place slices in a bowl. Add vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons honey; toss well to coat. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.
Working with pureed cucumber mixture in sieve, press mixture lightly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to squeeze out juice; discard solids.
Place half of marinated cucumber slices, avocado, and 1 3/4 cups cucumber juice in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Pour cucumber mixture into a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining cucumber slices and 1 3/4 cups cucumber juice; reserve any remaining juice for another use. Stir in chopped dill, salt, and pepper. Place 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 bowls. Garnish with cracked black pepper and dill sprigs, if desired.
Wine note: Green, vegetal flavors, like those found in this soup, call for sauvignon blanc's distinctive, herbaceous character. The wine's grassy, citrus qualities bring out the soup's fresh, crisp flavors. A good value from California is Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc ($50). -Jeffery Lindenmuth
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My husband and I enjoy eating this soup (he's picky too!), but I prepare it differently. Instead of taking the time to sieve and make the cucumber juice, I peel and seed the cukes, put them into the food processor with all of the other ingredients listed. I usually have to do it in batches-- I halve the recipe except for the avocado (I use a whole one). To compensate for the steps skipped having to do with sieving and making cucumber juice, I add a bit of filtered water to each batch to thin out the purée (to be a bit more soupy). Adding chopped dill at the end (not puréed) makes this soup have some texture and added savory flavor.
I made this soup today using cucumbers from my garden and thought it was amazing. I'm living in Montenegro right now and the cucumbers here have a sweetness that I don't find in the ones from America. The cucumbers I have grown in my garden taste almost like mild melons. I though this soup celebrated the subtle taste of the cucumbers perfectly. Thank you Dan, you made our harvest today a special one!
I served this with homemade herb bread and a big salad, and the verdict from my dinner guests was "thoroughly inoffensive," even though I tried to jazz it up with a little red onion, mint, cilantro and Sriracha instead of the dill. It was clearly healthy and I found it refreshing, so I might make it again. I'm thinking more as a side to some salmon or other protein instead of forcing it to stand as a main course.