Cucumber Velouté

Veloutés are french soups that are finished with cream. This one is a clean and refreshing soup that makes an excellent starter that cleanses your palette in advance of heavier courses. I usually serve this in espresso cups for guests to sip over appetizers.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb English Cucumber
  • 3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of curry powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp creme fraiche
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper
  • Mint leaves (enough for one or two per serving to garnish)

Directions

  1. Combine the cucumber, yogurt, water, lemon juice, curry powder, and cayenne in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add the creme fraiche and blend.
  3. Pour the soup through a strainer to strain out the solid. Press the solids firmly against the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible.
  4. Stir in salt and white pepper to the strained liquid, to taste.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
  6. To serve, pour into small cups and garnish with mint leaves.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. English or European cucumbers are the best for this recipe because they are seedless (or nearly seedless). Regular American cucumbers have too many seeds, and although they would get strained from the final soup, they can add a bitter flavor to the final product.
  2. The reason that the creme fraiche is added last is because really you are just gently folding it in–something that would otherwise be accomplished by transferring the velouté to a bowl and folding in by hand. I save you this step by allowing you to leave it all in the blender, but it means that you only need your lowest speed. Don’t maniacally blend on super fast speed.
  3. Don’t be lazy and not strain the solids. This is wonderfully creamy and refreshing soup to sip, but if you are having to chew through cucumber skins and seeds, it really takes away from the elegance of the dish.