I've always loved cold soups in warm weather and have posted several in the past. The thing about this one is the fennel. Are you a fan? As far as I'm concerned, roasted, I love it. Raw, served in a salad, not so much. But this fennel is steamed and puréed along with some raw cucumbers so how cool is that? It's a lovely soup, with some texture (can't help but remind you of a vichyssoise) and quite mild in flavor. The tarragon is a nice touch; it's an herb we don't use nearly enough.
Chilled Fennel and Cucumber Soup
From Fine Cooking Magazine, June/July Issue
3 pounds fennel bulbs (about 2 large or 3 medium)
1 1/4 pounds seedless cucumbers
1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Trim, quarter and core the fennel bulbs and cut into 1 inch pieces...about 6 cups. Save some of the frond for garnishing.
Steam the fennel until very tender, about 8 minutes.
Peel the cucumbers, quarter lengthwise and cut into 1 inch chunks.
In a blender, puree until smooth half the cooked fennel with half the cucumber along with salt, pepper and tarragon. Strain over a bowl, forcing the puree with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining fennel and cucumber.
Add the cream and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days. Just before serving, correct the seasoning, add one teaspoon finely chopped tarragon, and garnish with a fennel frond.