Harriet Davidson's Chilled Cucumber Soup
Recipe, words & photography by Harriet Davidson
It was earlier last year that I spent a week in kitchens dotted around Provence, in the Luberon, cooking with a most remarkable woman, Jeni Glasgow, for a beautiful photography workshop. Her way with food, creative as can be, and always a pleasure to eat. The menu for a long table lunch on one of those hot, late summer days was a chilled cucumber soup served with puff pastry that Jeni had cut into shapes of fish.
We sat under a generous tree that shaded the front of the house on a table dressed with flowers and delicious napery and sipped and dipped – the soup was just perfect. This recipe is an ode to this fabulous woman. It’s one for those summer days when we’re all a bit done with cooking, and when cucumbers are abundant.
Triple the recipe and serve it as a canapé in little cups for a cocktail party, or double it and serve it in chilled bowls for a dinner party, or make it as is, and have it in your refrigerator ready for when you and your lover stumble back up from the beach, sun drunk and sandy after a day by the sea. I plucked whatever herbs we had growing in the vegetable garden, but use what you please, just don’t go too heavy on tarragon as it can be quite an overpowering flavour. Light, cold, zippy, zesty, refreshing – it’s everything you want and more on these 30-something degree days we have ahead.
It’s one for those summer days when we’re all a bit done with cooking, and when cucumbers are abundant.
2 Lebanese cucumbers, roughly chopped
1 cup plain Greek Yoghurt, plus extra to serve
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1 cup mixed, chopped soft herbs (parsley, dill, mint, basil, chives, French tarragon), plus extra to serve
¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Flaked sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh bread, toasted then drizzled with olive oil and rubbed with a fresh garlic clove
In a blender, blend the cucumbers until smooth. Add the yoghurt, juice of the lemon, garlic, herbs and olive oil with a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth.
Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
When ready to serve, taste for seasoning. The flavours will meld and evolve so you’ll likely need to adjust the seasoning with a little extra salt or lemon juice.
Pour into bowls (chilled if you’ve thought of it!) and top with a spoonful of yoghurt, a drizzle of olive oil, some thinly sliced cucumber, fresh herbs, a good crack of black pepper and the lemon zest. Serve with garlic-rubbed toasted bread for dipping and mopping.