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.
Featured in: “The Brothers Berezutskiy and the New Russian Cuisine.”
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
- 8 quail eggs
- 2 English cucumbers (1 lb. 11 oz.), 1 julienned, 1 finely grated
- 2 cups loosely packed mixed herbs such as Italian parsley, dill, mint, sorrel, or celery leaves, plus more for garnish
- 1 qt. buttermilk or plain kefir
- Kosher salt
- 1-2 tbsp. freshly grated horseradish
- 1-2 tbsp. hot Russian-style mustard
- 10 radishes, julienned
- 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.
- Set a fine sieve over a small bowl and add the grated cucumber; press and squeeze to extract ⅔ cup of the juice (discard the solids and any remaining juice).
- To a food processor, add the 2 cups mixed herbs and 2 tablespoons cold water; pulse until finely chopped but not liquefied, 20–30 seconds.
- 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.
- Divide the remaining cucumber and the radishes between 8 soup bowls. Add the soup, then garnish with the quail eggs and more herbs.