Veloutés are classic French soups, usually thickened with cream or sometimes egg yolks or butter. At Mélisse, in Santa Monica, California, Josiah Citrin serves his cool cucumber version as an amuse-gueule (savory snack) to all his customers before their meal. The soup can also be served as a first course.
Cold Soup Recipes
1 pound European cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of curry powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons crème fraîche or sour cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
16 small mint leaves
How to Make It
In a blender, combine the cucumbers, yogurt, water, lemon juice, curry powder and cayenne and puree until very smooth. Blend in the crème fraîche. Strain the soup through a fine sieve, pressing down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Season the velouté with salt and white pepper and refrigerate until chilled.
In a medium bowl, gently whip the cream. Season with salt and white pepper and chill. Just before serving, stir the velouté and pour it into 8 small glasses or demitasse cups. Garnish each serving with a heaping teaspoon of the whipped cream and 2 mint leaves.
The velouté can be refrigerated overnight.
A bold Champagne will balance the richness of the creamy cucumber soup.
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