Warmer days shouldn’t mean soup is off the menu. Often overlooked, cold soups provide a delightful change to warm weather menus. My Mom made cold soups on occasion, including a beautiful cucumber soup. Though not her exact recipe it is a wonderful rendition and I’m certain she would approve.
This refreshing soup is oddly captivating. The subtle tones of cool cucumber are accented with the brightness of fresh fennel and lemon plus a pop of spice from cayenne pepper that gently lingers.
The combination of vegetables and citrus are wonderful on their own but the touch of cream at the end provides a silkiness that is really quite nice.
I played with a number of recipes, tweaking with taste and technique along the way until I landed on the consistency and flavor profile I was after. One big takeaway – take the time to seed the cucumbers. It’s quick and simple to do. After peeling, cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise. Then take a spoon and scrape the seeds out the center. I made one batch without seeding and though okay, the batch made with seeded cucumbers had a smoother, richer texture.
You can make this soup ahead and thoroughly chill it or serve it right after you make it. Top it with fresh lump crab, plump ripe tomatoes, a few extra crisp cucumbers and a sprig or two of fresh dill – It’s a perfect way to welcome warmer days!
Chilled Cucumber Soup
8 cups peeled, seeded and cubed cucumbers, about 5-7 cucumbers, plus extra for garnish
¼ cup sliced fennel, about half of a small fennel bulb
1 teaspoon lemon zest, about 2 lemons
6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 1-2 lemons
3 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ cup heavy cream
Garnish: lump crab, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, fresh dill
Place the cucumbers, the fennel, lemon zest and juice along with the kosher salt, sugar, black pepper and cayenne pepper into the container of your blender.
Process the ingredients on low speed until they start to come together then turn the speed up to medium high. Process until the soup is very smooth, about 30-45 seconds.
Transfer the soup to a large bowl and stir in the heavy cream. Chill until you’re ready to serve.
Garnish and enjoy!