Cucumber Soup, Basil, Buttermilk

Cucumber Soup, Basil, Buttermilk
Staff Writer
Cucumber Soup, Basil, Buttermilk
Eric Medsker
Cucumber Soup, Basil, Buttermilk

Cold buttermilk soups are an old-fashioned tradition, a tangy zip for fresh, summer vegetables that need little else. Here, the sweet, grassy mellowness of cucumbers is paired with that summery perfume of basil, distilled into a finishing oil you can keep on hand to drizzle on future soups and salads. It's an irresistible, bright, almost ethereal combination that may well sum up the season. But we didn't stop there; We gave the pairing a tangy jolt with buttermilk and sour cream so that the flavors can't turn listless. If you've got weekend guests for a dinner party this evening, skip this one as a second or third course and consider serving it in shot glasses as a midday pick-me-up on the deck. — Vegetarian Dinner Parties

Click Here to See More Soup Recipes
 

6
Servings
505
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Notes

Prepare the basil oil up to 1 week in advance. Store, covered, in the fridge. If it hardens, run warm water over the container to loosen the oil.
Prepare the soup up to 1 day in advance.
To save time, use store-bought basil oil instead of making your own.
Look for real buttermilk, not the more common cultured substitute in our supermarkets. Real buttermilk — the liquid left over after making butter — will have a less sour, more savory finish, which will better match the cucumbers and basil.
For proper body and mouth feel, do not use "lite" or fat-free sour cream.

Reprinted from Vegetarian Dinner Parties by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough. Copyright (c) 2014 by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 2  Pounds  cucumbers (about 4 medium)
  • medium celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¼  Cup  olive oil
  • ¼  Cup  loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1  Teaspoon  salt
  • ½  Teaspoon  ground white pepper
  • ¾  Cup  regular or low-fat buttermilk
  • ¼  Cup  regular or reduced-fat sour cream

For the basil oil

  • 2  Cups  packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1  Cup  olive oil

Directions

For the soup

Peel the cucumbers, halve them lengthwise, and use a small spoon to scrape out (and discard) the seeds. Chop the cucumbers into small bits and add them to a large blender.

Add the celery, scallions, olive oil, basil, salt, and white pepper. Cover and blend until fairly smooth (there will be bits of celery string in the mix).

Strain the purée into a large bowl through a fine-mesh sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Whisk in the buttermilk and sour cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

For the basil oil

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the basil leaves to the hot water and once you see the first bubble after throwing them in, wait 10 seconds then remove and blanch the basil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the leaves from the saucepan to the bowl with the ice water. Add more ice, chill for a few minutes, then skim the leaves out of the bowl with a slotted spoon and dry the leaves on paper towels.

Purée the basil with the olive oil in a blender. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to settle. Strain into a small bowl through a colander lined with cheesecloth.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle each serving with basil oil.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
46g
66%
Sugar
2g
2%
Saturated Fat
32g
100%
Cholesterol
8mg
3%
Carbohydrate, by difference
18g
14%
Protein
6g
13%
Vitamin A, RAE
221µg
32%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
14mg
19%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
289µg
100%
Calcium, Ca
242mg
24%
Choline, total
8mg
2%
Fiber, total dietary
2g
8%
Folate, total
46µg
12%
Iron, Fe
2mg
11%
Magnesium, Mg
52mg
16%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
1mg
7%
Pantothenic acid
1mg
20%
Phosphorus, P
254mg
36%
Selenium, Se
4µg
7%
Sodium, Na
1047mg
70%
Water
177g
7%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

Cucumber Shopping Tip

There are three different types of cucumbers: slicing, pickling, and “burpless.” If you're making sandwiches, you might want to try the “burpless” variety which are naturally seedless and are less likely to cause gas.

Cucumber Cooking Tip

Salting your cucumber slices and allowing them to drain over a colander for about an hour will get rid of any excess water and keep your sandwich from becoming soggy.