Barbara Kafka

Cucumber Gazpacho

(from Soup A Way of Life, page 34)

This is a delightful aromatic soup with cucumbers and mint--very fresh. Puréeing the cucumbers provides a liquid base, a nice trick.

5 medium Kirby cucumbers, peeled and seeded

1 medium Vidalia onion, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) chunks

2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded, deribbed and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) squares

1 medium jalepeño pepper, seeded and deribbed

4 medium cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

6 slices firm white bread, crusts removed

2 medium bunches mint, leaves only, 8 small sprigs resrved for serving

3/4 cup (180 ml) olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Croutons (page 429 of Soup), for serving

In a food processor, purée the cucumbers until very liquid, almost like water. Remove to a large bowl. In a food processor, pulse the onion until coarsely chopped. Add to the cucumbers. Repeat with the red peppers. Add to the cucumbers and onions.

Process the
jalepeño, garlic, bread, and 3/4 cup (20 mg) mint leaves, while slowly pouring the oil through the feed tube, until a paste is formed. Stir into the vegetables. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and 2 cups (500 ml) water. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until cold. The soup can be made up to 1 day ahead.

Serve the soup chilled, with two croutons and a sprig, or a few leaves of mint on top of each serving.

Makes 8 cups (2 L); 8 first-course servings
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