Cold Cu­cum­ber and Okra Soup

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOD & LIFE -

Many peo­ple equate okra with gumbo, the Ca­jun-or Cre­ole-style stew that re­lies on the fla­vor and the thick­en­ing pow­ers of the sticky green pods. I love spicy, vel­vety-smooth gumbo, but not dur­ing the heat of sum­mer. I pre­fer a lighter soup for sum­mer din­ing. This dish, which is in­spired by tra­di­tional cold cu­cum­ber soup, is re­fresh­ing and slightly tangy, and al­though the added silk­i­ness that comes from the pureed okra is no­tice­able, it’s not over­whelm­ing. If you’re try­ing to up the nu­tri­tional value of your reg­u­lar meals, this soup is worth try­ing at least once just for the health ben­e­fits of the raw in­gre­di­ents. Okra is a ma­jor player among the su­per foods — it’s rich in fiber, vi­ta­min B6, vi­ta­min A, folic acid, cal­cium, potas­sium and mag­ne­sium. 1 cup cu­cum­ber, peeled and chopped; re­move seeds if they’re tough or bit­ter 1⁄2 cup of ten­der young okra, stems re­moved, sliced 1/4 cup sweet yel­low pep­per, chopped clove gar­lic, chopped 1⁄2 cup whole milk 8-10 fresh sweet basil leaves (or dill fronds) 1⁄2 Tbsp. fresh flat leaf pars­ley, chopped

1 1⁄4 cup plain yo­gurt 1⁄4 cup crème fraîche (or sour cream or but­ter­milk) 1⁄2 cup wa­ter 1⁄2 cup dry white wine (op­tional) 2 tsp. fresh le­mon juice 2 Tbsp. ex­tra vir­gin olive oil Salt and pep­per to taste Chopped chives or salad toma­toes for gar­nish

Place first five in­gre­di­ents in a food pro­ces­sor and purée un­til smooth. Add basil and pars­ley and pulse briefly un­til herbs are in tiny pieces. Pour mix­ture into a mix­ing bowl and stir in re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents. Whisk well. Add salt and pep­per to taste. Chill be­fore serv­ing with gar­nish of chopped toma­toes or chives. Makes 5-6 serv­ings.

In sum­mer, your thoughts don’t turn as lightly to hot, hearty gumbo – so in­stead, try this chilled cu­cum­ber and okra soup, gar­nished with chopped ‘Sun­gold’ toma­toes.

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