Jo-Anne van den Berg-Ohms
John Scheepers * Bantam, CT

Our favorite restaurant in the Netherlands is Restaurant De Moerbei in Warmond (near Lisse) where our Dutch colleagues have treated us to the most amazing evenings of chef wizardry, magical tastes and happy conversation. We always take an appreciative yet fleeting look at the menu, glance around at one another, and make a unanimous decision to go with the chef’s tasting menu. Each surprise course transforms me into a child opening the most wanted present on the best birthday ever.

This May, we were lucky enough to be there again. It is such a warm, inviting space with charming staff who didn’t mind that I took photos of each magnificent offering. My first weekend back home, I did my best to replicate their Cucumber Ginger Gazpacho festooned by miniature orbs of cucumber-ribboned goat cheese around a little island of tuna tartare topped with fried shrimp. I hope that you find my version of their inspiring verdant gazpacho as smooth and spice-silky as I found theirs. (While I tackled the tuna tartare, my version still needs work before passing it along to you.)


Cucumber Ginger Gazpacho with Spiced Honey Grilled Shrimp
Cucumber Ginger Gazpacho
  • 3 large English cucumbers, skinned and halved lengthwise
  • 2 slicing cucumbers, skinned and halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated, peeled ginger root
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 5 scallions, chopped (white and pale green only)
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black or rainbow pepper

    Spiced Honey Grilled Shrimp
  • 12 raw jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate vinegar (can sub apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup dark honey
  • 1/4 cup chile sauce (like Heinz)
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons grated, peeled ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Skewers

    Mini Cucumber Goat Cheese Roll-Ups
  • 1 English cucumber (to make paper-thin ribbons)
  • Creamy goat cheese

    Cucumber Ginger Gazpacho
    It is really good to make the gazpacho a day ahead so it can get nice and cold overnight. (Nothing wrong with making the honey grilling marinade a day ahead too.)

    Remove all of the seeds from the cucumbers. Chop the cucumbers and place half in a blender with the flat-leaf parsley, ginger root, lime juice, scallions and avocado. Purée until extremely smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Place the remaining chopped cucumber in the blender; add 2 cups chicken stock. Purée until smooth. Pour this mixture into the first mixture in the large bowl; whisk to combine. At this point, if there are any little lumps, you can purée it again in the blender in batches. Check the consistency: it should coat a wooden spoon. If it is too thick, incrementally add more chicken stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill overnight before serving.

    Spiced Honey Grilled Shrimp
    Shell, devein and cold-water rinse the shrimp. Pat dry.

    In a small bowl, mix together all of the marinade ingredients. Put the shrimp in a glass bowl. Pour enough marinade over the shrimp so you can toss them and coat well. Cover and chill for no more than 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat grill to medium high.

    Using a regular cheese slicer, remove a strip of skin from an English cucumber and discard. Slice another paper-thin ribbon of cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Take about 1/2 teaspoon of soft creamy goat cheese, place it on the cucumber ribbon and roll it up into a little tube, cutting the ribbon after it encircles the goat cheese. Make four miniature roll ups for each bowl of soup.

    Thread the shrimp on skewers and brush with more marinade. Grill for two minutes per side, basting with the marinade. Do not overcook.

    To serve, Pour the chilled Cucumber Ginger Gazpacho into large flat soup bowls. Place 4 grilled shrimp in the middle of each bowl and garnish with the miniature cucumber-ribbon roll-ups of creamy goat cheese so that they stand on end revealing the sweet creamy centers. Serves four as a main course or eight as a starter in small bowls.

  • Recipe Seeds: Cucumbers, Garlic, Greenhouse English-types Cucumbers, Onion Seed, Onions, Parsley, Slicing Cucumbers

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