I developed this recipe based on the cucumber gazpacho I had at Ten Tables in Provincetown on the Cape last weekend. They served the cold soup over a few cubes of roasted beets and said they used bread to make it creamy (it's non-dairy). I used as a starting point the recipe that Catch Restaurant's Chris Parsons (Winchester, MA) and added almonds and mint.
You might need to make this in two batches, depending on the size of your blender jar. It did fit in my standard Kitchenaid 56 oz/7 C blender. The soup's flavors intensify with time, and I like it best a day after making it. It will thicken up in the fridge, so you may need to add a little water before serving.
Trying to emulate the restaurant, I made a few fancy oils to decorate the top -- clearly not necessary; you'll have leftovers, so you can drizzle them over a salad or cooked vegetables. If you do make the garlic scape oil, you can strain out the solids and then add them to omelettes, pasta, or, well, anything.
If you want to be trendy, serve the soup in tall shot glasses or tubmlers. Or, go old school and use a bowl. —zahavah
thin-skinned cucumbers -- about 10 small Persian cucumbers or 2 seedless/English cucumbers
small onion or 1/2 large onion
garlic scapes (or 2-3 cloves regular garlic)
tightly packed mint leaves (about 30)
olive oil (not the fancy stuff)
red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
stale bread, cut into cubes. I've found challah or ciabatta to be best. You can keep on some crust, but too much and the soup will come out less creamy, more gritty
Rough chop the cucumber and add to the blender jar with the cold water. Puree until smooth. Rough chop the onion and scapes and add to the blender jar with the mint leaves. Puree again. Then add the almonds. oli, and vinegar, and keep pureeing until the entire mix is smooth.
Add the bread cubes and let them soak up the liquid for at least 30 minutes. When they have softened up, puree again until very smooth. Add salt to taste.
You want to serve this cold, so refrigerate for at least an hour (straight in the blender jar) before serving. The soup with thicken a bit, so you may need to add a little cold water and blend until it's the consistency you want.
Garnish as much as you'd like (see recipes below). Drizzle with olive oil, mint oil, and/or garlic scape oil. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and/or chopped cucumber.
Make mint oil. In a food processor, puree 1/2 C oil and mint. After letting the oil sit for a day, you can strain out the solids (or not...I didn't). Drizzle over soup.
Make garlic scape oil. In a food processor, puree 1 C oil and garlic scapes. After letting the oil sit for a day, you can strain out the solids (or not...I didn't). Drizzle over soup.
Toast the almonds until they just start to darken. Let them cool and then pulse in a food processor a few times (or chop). Sprinkle over soup.