The subtle flavour of the cucumbers used is obviously what this soup is all about, so this is definitely a case for avoiding the Dutch hothouse types and going for a good organic supplier. Don’t be tempted to avoid the salting and degorging process: cucumber juices may be less bitter than they once were, but they are still fairly indigestible.
Peel the cucumbers, halve them lengthwise and deseed 4 of them. Slice these into a bowl and add the salt to degorge them for about 10 minutes. Rinse well and drain.
Place the degorged cucumbers in a blender with the crème fraîche and milk, and liquidize until very smooth. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and chill for at least 3 hours or until very cold.
To serve, dice the remaining cucumber. Pour the soup into 4 soup plates and arrange the crème fraîche, salmon slices and diced cucumber over the top, then sprinkle with smoked paprika and young shoots.
© 2008 Anthony Demetre. All rights reserved.