July is here and locally grown cucumbers and fennel are in season! This recipe for cucumber fennel gazpacho is one of my favorites. It is a very refreshing dish and is usually served as a cold soup. Perfect for the summer! But with a little creativity, it can also be used as a sauce for fish. For a vegetarian entrée, add potatoes, mushrooms, and pickled onions.
3 large cucumbers
1 head fennel
1 Spanish onion
1 head fresh garlic
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 bunch parsley
2 lemons (zest and peel)
2 TB white balsamic vinegar
Peel cucumbers reserving skins. Clean fennel, reserve the fronds and add them to cucumber skins. Blanch skins, fronds and herbs for 15 seconds in boiling water and shock in a bowl of ice water. Strain and puree in blender with some of the ice water until smooth.
Puree cucumbers, fennel, onion, garlic, and lemon juice. Season with white balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.
Separately, these mixtures will last up to 5 days and stay green. When ready so serve, add mixtures together. It usually takes 1-2 days for the acidity to turn the green color brown. Garnish with herbs.