This is a refreshing and light starter or lunch dish for a summer’s day and it looks very pretty.
4 cloves garlic
600g Desiree potatoes
100ml olive oil
300ml pouring cream
2 telegraph cucumbers
½ – 1 bird’s-eye chilli, seeded, finely chopped
extra milk if required
2 – 3 green prawns per person
1 jar salmon roe
200g Greek-style natural yoghurt
2 bunches basil
200ml olive oil
For cucumber soup, finely chop onions, slice garlic, and peel and finely dice potatoes. Heat oil in a saucepan over low-medium heat, then add onions, garlic and potatoes, and cook for 10 minutes or until onions are soft. Add cream and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, cut the cucumbers in half; remove the seeds by running a spoon down the centre of the cucumber, discard the seeds. Coarsely grate cucumber, including the skin, over a colander and drain while the potatoes are cooking. Set ½ cup of grated cucumber aside for the garnish. Add the rest of the cucumber to the soup and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Cool.
Process the soup with a stick blender or in a food processor until almost smooth. Stir in chilli and if necessary, extra milk to thin to the desired consistency, then season with sea salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the prawns, prepare by removing the shells, devein them and cut in half down the central vein line. Heat a pan with some rice bran oil and butter; when sizzling add the prawns and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, just until they change colour and turn pink. Remove prawns from the pan and set aside. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
For basil oil, pick the basil leaves and blanch in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute, then drain, squeeze dry and process with oil in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a jug and set aside for about 30 minutes: the oil will separate from the solids. When this has happened, strain off the basil oil and discard solids.
Serve in wide, shallow soup bowls. Ladle the soup in to the bowl, sprinkle the freshly grated cucumber over the soup and place the prawns in the centre; top with 2 small spoonfuls of yoghurt and salmon roe. Drizzle basil oil around the prawns
Variation: replace the prawns with poached salmon, about 80g per person.
620ml dry white wine
200ml white wine vinegar
110g brown sugar
2 dried bay leaf
24 black peppercorns
80g piece skinless salmon per person
To poach the salmon, place white wine, vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, peppercorns and 500ml of water in a small frying pan and bring to the boil; then turn off the heat. Season the salmon with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and place it in the poaching liqueur and leave to cool for 40 minutes. The residual heat from the liqueur will cook the salmon to medium.