Creamy Cucumber Gazpacho


June 16, 2009 031

This is my take on the familiar icy cold cucumber gazpacho.  Its spicy and peppery  notes announce themselves but do not overwhelm.  The shrimp garnish adds a nice contrast of texture and flavor.  Sometimes soup alone does not a meal make.  The savory cheesy ciabatta toasts make it feel more like a light summer lunch.

(adapted from a recipe by Epicurious)

1 English cucumber

1 medium shallot

1 clove garlic

I t chopped jalapeno (without seeds)

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon, mint plus 2 T finely minced of same for garnish

1 t fresh ginger, chopped

3 T extra virgin olive oil

½ lime juiced

Dash Tabasco sauce

½ c plain yogurt

Salt

Pepper

4 peeled large shrimp

6 mint leaves

2 large slices ciabatta bread, lightly toasted

2 oz. triple cream cheese

Chill two soup plates.  Peel and seed cucumber.  Cutting out any seeds, finely dice 2 T of the cucumber.  Roughly chop remainder of cucumber and place in food processor along with shallot, garlic, jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped herbs, ginger, olive oil, lime juice, Tabasco sauce and yogurt. Puree until smooth.  Stir in salt and pepper to taste.  Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Salt and pepper shrimp, Sauté quickly in a hot skillet with 1 T olive oil about 1 minute. Dice.

Serve soup with garnishes, diced shrimp and mint leaves topping each plate

An excellent addition instead of croutons is sliced ciabatta bread lightly toasted and spread with triple cream cheese.  Cut slices into two or three pieces and serve on the side.

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