A light, cool sharp soup for a summer’s day. This is one to serve thoroughly chilled. I bring the bowl to the table with ice cubes to cool it even further. Serve in small amounts, perhaps with some sticky, dark rye bread.
Peel 350g of cucumber, removing only the very tough outer skin. Slice in half lengthways, then scrape out and discard the seeds and pulp from the centre. Coarsely grate the flesh using a hand grater or a food processor fitted with the coarsest grater attachment.
Put 500ml of natural yoghurt into a mixing bowl, beat gently until smooth and creamy, then stir in the grated cucumber. Peel and grate to a pulp a single clove of young, sweet summer garlic, then add it to the yoghurt together with 2 tbsp of white-wine tarragon vinegar. Finely chop 1 gherkin or 3 cornichons, then stir into the soup with 1 tbsp each of chopped mint, dill and parsley, then season with salt and pepper. Cover with kitchen film and chill thoroughly. Bring to the table with ice cubes and a scattering of parsley, dill and, should you have them, thyme or dill flowers. Serves 3-4
A mild chilli, finely sliced, is a worthwhile addition.
A small amount of white crab meat can be sprinkled on top of each bowl before serving, or perhaps a handful of cooked, peeled prawns.
You could make some crab cakes to sit in your soup. (The sizzling fishcakes are a great contrast to chilled soup.) Mix together 200g of mixed white and brown crabmeat, 125g of fresh breadcrumbs, 1 beaten egg, 2 small, hot chillies, chopped, a small handful of coriander, 3 tbsp of flour and shape into 8 small cakes. Leave to settle for half an hour in the fridge, then fry in a little oil in a nonstick pan until golden, turning once. Serve them with the soup.
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