Just about every Moroccan cookbook I saw had a recipe for a cucumber salad with mint leaves, lemon and, in some variations, orange blossom water. I gave it a go and, frankly, was totally underwhelmed. Maybe it was the fact that I’d grated the cucumber, which quickly became rather limp and lifeless, but the salad definitely wasn’t a keeper.
But the bright side was that it reminded me that I’ve been meaning to try out some new agua frescas and this flavor combination sounded promising. Just a couple minutes later I was enjoying this light, refreshing drink.
Some cucumber agua frescas call for a rather large amount of mint and lemon. I’m sure those are great, but I really wanted the cucumber to shine in this version. For those of you who are lucky enough to have cucumbers in your garden, this would be a great way to use up any surplus.
Cucumber Agua Fresca with Lemon and Mint
Yield: 4 servings
* 1 very large cucumber, cut into large chunks
* 6 cups cold water
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 10 mint leaves, plus extra for garnish
* 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
* lemon slices for garnish (optional)
* cucumber slices for garnish (optional)
Combine the cucumber, water, sugar, mint leaves, lemon juice and orange blossom water in a blender and blend until very smooth.* Strain into a pitcher and add some mint leaves, lemon slices and cucumber slices for garnish. Serve immediately over ice.
* Note: if your blender pitcher is on the small side, just blend the cucumber and other ingredients with 3 cups water and then add the other 3 cups to the pitcher; mix well to combine.