During a recent trip to Montreal, I had another great dining experience at Au pied du cochon. One particular dish stood out from the entire meal, a cold soup that I have tried to re-create a number of times, with some local Niagara riesling.
Au pied de cochon is chef Martin Picard's brainchild eatery. A small restaurant located near Le Plateau-mont-royal that celebrates Quebecois food and all things foie gras. It's a restaurant known for its over-the-top portions, and cholosterol overdose. During my most recent visit to apdc, I decided to skip all the mains on the menu and taste through the appetizers and sides. Beef tartare, duck carpaccio, terrines, chicken liver mouse, and of course the cucumber soup. A simple looking bowl with semi-pureed cucumber, topped of with some creme fraiche and lobster meat. A simple soup, but one of the best I've had this year.
Since that trip, I've tried to duplicate this soup a number of times, enjoying each attempt. Since the soup is primarily cucumber, it offers a versatile canvas when working with spices and ingredients. The last few times, I started to add some Niagara riesling to boost the acidity in the soup, and bring out more fruit characteristics.
How to make this soup
Remove the skin from 2 large cucumbers. Cut them into manageable pieces and toss them into a food processor along with a quarter cup of water, and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add one tablespoon of maple syrup or honey, one tablespoon of olive oil, one teaspoon of salt, two mint leaves. Process the soup for a few seconds, the trick is to keep it a little chunky and not overly smooth. Open the lid, and pour in a quarter cup of riesling. Process again, taste and adjust. From start to finish this process shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes.
The Chateau dés Charmes and Rosewood riesling add a plethora of crisp citrus notes to the soup, while lifting it up with the acid. I like to top this soup off with some crab or lobster meat. Even if you choose not to add wine to the soup, I find that with the cucumber and crab, both wines pair very well when enjoying the soup.
Rosewood Estates Natalie's 2009 Sussreserve Riesling
Available at the winery
4352 Mountainview Road
Au pied de cochon