Okroshka (Chilled Buttermilk Soup with Herbs)

Okroshka (Chilled Buttermilk Soup with Herbs) Recipe
Okroshka (Chilled Buttermilk Soup with Herbs)Simon Bajada

This take on okroshka, a classic summer soup named after the Russian word kroshit, meaning "to crumble," uses tangy kefir or buttermilk as a base and is filled with heaps of torn fresh herbs. Grated horseradish and spicy mustard add a gentle backnote to the soup. If you can't find quail eggs or don't have the patience to peel them, hard-boil chicken eggs and cut them into quarters.

Okroshka (Chilled Buttermilk Soup with Herbs)
This take on okroshka, a classic summer soup in Russia, uses tangy kefir or buttermilk as a base and is filled with heaps of torn fresh herbs.
Yield: serves 8
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 quail eggs
  • 2 English cucumbers (1 lb. 11 oz.), 1 diced or julienned, 1 finely grated
  • 2 cups loosely packed mixed herbs such as flat-leaf parsley, dill, mint, sorrel, or celery leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 qt. buttermilk or plain kefir
  • Salt
  • 1-2 tbsp. freshly grated horseradish
  • 1-2 tbsp. hot Russian-style mustard
  • 10 radishes, julienned

Instructions

  1. Fill a small bowl with ice water and set it aside. Place the quail eggs in a small pot and add enough cold water just to cover. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a low boil. Boil for 3 minutes, then, using a slotted spoon, immediately remove the eggs from the hot water and plunge them into the ice water. Once cool, gently peel. Slice in half, and refrigerate.
  2. Set a fine sieve over a small bowl and add the grated cucumber; press and squeeze to extract 23 cup juice (discard the solids and any remaining juice).
  3. In a food processor, add the 2 cups mixed herbs and 2 tablespoons cold water; pulse until finely chopped but not liquefied, 20–30 seconds.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the reserved cucumber juice, horseradish, and mustard. Stir in the chopped herbs, season the mixture generously with kosher salt, and refrigerate until well chilled.
  5. Divide the remaining cucumber and the radishes between 8 soup bowls. Add the soup, then garnish with the quail eggs and more herbs.