By Freya Bellin
I love repurposing food to be functional. These cucumber cups are a fun way to slurp a shot of gazpacho (or a shot of tequila, if you’re so inclined – cucumber chaser?) Mine were a little leaky, but it was no problem – just drink quickly! I also think that leakiness could have been prevented by scooping out a bit less cucumber flesh.
The gazpacho here is worth making, cucumber cups or not. The pure melon version in the main recipe is almost like a dessert, the half-melon/half-tomato variation is a surprisingly delicious mix of sweet and tangy, and the Bloody Mary version is perfect for a Sunday brunch. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Cucumber Cups with Melon Gazpacho
Makes: 4 to 8 servings
Time: About 30 minutes
Hollowed-out cucumbers make functional and delicious vessels for cold soups, salads, and dips (or even for an ice-cold shot of tequila or gin). So they’re ideal for gazpacho—and lots of other things too.
2 large cucumbers, peeled if the skins are thick or bitter
1 cantaloupe or other melon, about 2 pounds, flesh seeded, removed from the rind, and cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and black pepper
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil or mint
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Cut each cucumber crosswise into equal pieces about 2 inches long. With a spoon or melon baller, scoop out most of the seeds to make a little cup, being careful not to pierce through the sides or the bottom. Put the cucumbers in a bowl of ice water until ready to fill.
2. Put the melon and lemon juice in a food processor with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. You can make it chunky or smooth, depending on whether you turn the machine on and leave it on or just pulse a few times. Add a few tablespoons water at a time, just enough to keep the machine working, and blend or pulse until smooth or chunky. (You can make the gazpacho ahead if you like; cover and refrigerate for up to several hours.)
3. Just before serving, taste the gazpacho and add more salt, pepper, or lemon as needed. Drain the cucumber cups and fill with the gazpacho. Garnish with a light sprinkle of basil or mint and a few drops of olive oil and serve.
Cucumber Cups with Tomato-Melon Gazpacho. Substitute 1 pound chopped tomatoes (squeeze the seeds out if you like) for 1 pound of the melon.
Cucumber Cups with Bloody Mary Gazpacho. Substitute 2 pounds chopped tomatoes for the melon. In Step 2, add a garlic clove, prepared horseradish to taste, a small fresh hot red chile (or a dash of hot sauce), a splash of Worcestershire sauce, and vodka instead of the water. Garnish each cup with a slice of celery.
Cucumber Cups with Fruit Gazpacho. Substitute berries, seedless grapes, pineapple, or peeled plums for the melon.