Cucumber gazpacho with Parmesan custard

This is a dish all about contrast – the chilled, fresh, vibrant, tangy, slightly fiery cucumber soup and warm, creamy, rich, savoury Parmesan custard work with each other surprisingly well. Make the gazpacho and oil in advance to make this a simple dish to prepare at a dinner party – all you need to do before serving is steam the custards.

First published in 2020
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Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

Gazpacho

Parmesan custard

  • 250ml of whole milk
  • 50g of Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 slice of white bread, crusts removed and diced
  • 1 pinch of Maldon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Basil oil

To garnish

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Cooking thermometer
  • 7cm ramekins

Method

1
Begin by making the basil oil, as this can be done in advance. Place a blender jug in the fridge for at least an hour to chill it. When it’s cold to the touch, pour the vegetable oil in a saucepan and gently heat to 110°C
  • 100ml of vegetable oil
2
Place the basil leaves in the chilled blender jug and pour the hot oil over the leaves. Blitz for a few minutes until completely smooth, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl set in ice water (which will help preserve the colour). Set aside in the fridge until ready to use
3
To make the gazpacho, return the blender jug to the fridge to chill for at least an hour once again. Once it’s cool, place all the ingredients into the jug, then blitz for a few minutes until smooth. Check the consistency – you can add more bread if you’d like the texture to be slightly thicker. Pass the soup through a fine sieve, taste for seasoning and store in the fridge until ready to serve
4
For the custards, gently warm the milk in a large saucepan. Add the Parmesan and bread, then transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth. Season with a pinch of salt, then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl and leave to cool
  • 250ml of whole milk
  • 50g of Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 slice of white bread, crusts removed and diced
  • 1 pinch of Maldon salt
5
While the custard base cools, line 8-10 ramekins or bowls (around 8cm in diameter or 90ml volume) with cling film and set up a large steamer. If you don’t have enough ramekins, you can try steaming the custards in larger containers and then carefully cutting out 8-10 circles, but for the best presentation individual ramekins work best
6
Once the custard has cooled, whisk in the eggs and divide the mixture between your ramekins – you want around 60ml in each one. Steam the custards for 10-12 minutes until they’re just set
7
While the custards steam, divide the gazpacho between your serving bowls. Carefully turn out the custards into the centre of each bowl, then garnish with a drizzle of the basil oil, the diced cucumber and the edible flowers
First published in 2020
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Kerth Gumbs' years of experience in top kitchens and playful, creative approach to fine dining make him one of the capital's most exciting chefs.

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