A far cry from the usual sour-cream-and-dill cucumber soup and a welcome change in midsummer, this soup may be prepared a day or two in advance, and can be made more substantial by adding about a cup of cold cooked crabmeat or shrimp at the last minute.
About 4 pounds of long, "English" cucumbers
2 small fresh chiles, minced, or dried red pepper flakes to taste
2 tablespoons nam pla or nuoc mam (Asian fish sauce), or salt to taste
Juice of 3 limes
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup cooked crabmeat or shrimp chunks (optional)
1. Wash the cucumbers, but don’t peel them. Cut off a piece of one and mince enough to make 1 cup; set aside. Put the rest of the cucumbers through a juicer, or puree in a blender or food processor and wring the resulting pulp in a cheesecloth to extract the juice.
2. Season the juice with the chiles, nam pla, and lime juice. Chill well. (You may prepare the recipe in advance up to this point; refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days.)
3. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve, garnished with the reserved minced cucumber, mint, cilantro, and crabmeat or shrimp, if using.
From Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman.
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