Gazpacho and friends
Try these cold soups for a hot summer meal
When a reader emailed me a few weeks ago to request some cold soup recipes for summer, my mind immediately went to gazpacho.
Spain's most famous summer dish, gazpacho is somewhat well-known in America, but it's not always easy to find. The Soup Peddler sells a chunky, gluten-free gazpacho this time of year; you can buy a ready-to-drink product called Tio Gazpacho at the Austin-area locations of Snap Kitchen and online; and gazpacho is something you can easily make at home with a blender and a few tomatoes.
Traditionally, gazpacho has both tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as sherry vinegar, but you can skip the tomatoes altogether and use cucumbers, grapes and almonds to make a green gazpacho, if you prefer. You also could make a tomato-only gazpacho, or one with another fruit, like watermelon, but don't skip the olive oil. I prefer gazpacho with bread mixed into the puree, and although you can add a little heat with a chile or garlic, if you add too much, you'll make a salsa instead of a soup.
But you don't have to stop at gazpacho. If you'd like to try a cold, yogurt-based soup, try the recipe from Honey & Co., a cafe in London that serves a savory, coriander-laced yogurt soup with an array of herbs and crunchy vegetables. And if you don't mind cooking and then chilling your soup, check out Ari LeVaux's summer soup that is made with cauliflower and is as creamy as traditional vichyssoise but without the potatoes.
You can make these cold soups ahead of time, but the ingredients will separate, so shake vigorously in a jar or use an immersion blender, food processor or regular blender to bring the soup back together. All soups, hot or cold, benefit from a crusty bread or cracker and a sprinkle of salt to finish just before serving.
José Andrés' Gazpacho
Gazpacho is a quintessential Spanish summertime soup. It is not cooked and can vary in composition and ingredients, but it typically includes tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers, olive oil, vinegar and garlic. This version is from chef, humanitarian and author José Andrés.
If you prefer a thinner, smooth soup, then go for it. Otherwise, we preferred the body and flavor, not to mention, it makes less of a mess. For an even thicker consistency, add torn pieces of rustic bread (no crusts) before blending. Or mix in other ripe fruits or vegetables from the farmers market; options include beets, berries, watermelon and peaches. Have fun with garnishes: Consider hearty additions such as hard-cooked eggs and ham, as well as mini-skewers of produce. Fresh herbs add aroma as well as flavor.
Among the keys to success: a good extra-virgin olive oil. You want one of these for your everyday cooking anyway, but especially here because it plays such a prominent role in a relatively short ingredient list. It's also worth grabbing a bottle of sherry vinegar at the grocery store. The flavor is not as harsh or bold as some other vinegars, with an appealing nutty undertone that works well in this raw dish, and in salad dressings.
— Becky Krystal
For the gazpacho:
2 pounds plum or Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 medium cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks (seeded or seedless) cucumber
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, or more as needed
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
For optional garnish:
Rustic white bread, griddled in a skillet with olive oil or brushed with olive oil and broiled (whole or torn into croutons)
12 cherry tomatoes, each cut into halves or quarters
1 medium cucumber, preferably seedless, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion or shallot
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
For the gazpacho: Combine the Roma or plum tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, garlic, vinegar and water in a blender or food processor; puree until the mixture becomes a thick liquid. (If your blender or food processor is not big enough to hold everything at once, you can start by blending some of the tomatoes with the water and vinegar.) Taste for acidity (this will vary with the sweetness of the tomatoes) and add more vinegar, as needed.
Stop to add the oil and the kosher salt (to taste; start with 1 teaspoon). Puree again briefly until thoroughly incorporated. Taste again, add more salt, as needed. Transfer to a container; cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to 1 day), until well chilled.
For optional garnish: Divide the croutons, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and/or red onion or shallot among individual bowls. At the table, pour the chilled gazpacho over each portion of garnishes, if using, or divide the gazpacho among the bowls. Drizzle with sherry vinegar and the oil. Season lightly with sea salt. Serve right away. Serves 4 to 8.
— Adapted from "Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America" by José Andrés and Richard Wolffe (Clarkson Potter, $35)
Cold Yogurt and Pomegranate Soup
When it's too hot to eat more than a salad, consider this chilled soup served with crunchy vegetables. The dish requires a bit of squeezing and dicing, but not a lot, and no cooking is involved. You’ll be rewarded with a dish full of flavor and texture from the yogurt, herbs and fruit, a bit of a kick from the chile and radishes, and a lot of pretty summer colors. Just the ticket to cool you down and fill you up, or as a great dinner party starter.
For the soup:
2 cups runny goat’s yogurt or 1 1/2 cups normal goat’s yogurt diluted with 1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
Scant 1/2 cup pomegranate juice (I press pomegranate halves through a sieve)
1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced or finely grated
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
A generous pinch of cayenne
Pepper or a few drops of Tabasco
For the garnish:
1 red chile, thinly sliced
1 small bunch of red seedless grapes, halved
1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes, sliced
6 to 8 radishes, thinly sliced
Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate
1 small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 small handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
A drizzle of olive oil
Whisk or blend all the soup ingredients together and set in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
When you are ready to serve, half-fill each serving bowl with soup and top with a little of everything from the list of garnishes, plus a drizzle of olive oil. Alternatively, you can lay everything out on the table and let people choose their own toppings. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread. To keep the soup extra cold, serve with ice cubes on top. Serves 4.
— From "Honey & Co.: The Cookbook" by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich (Pavilion, $35)
Vichyssoise doesn't usually have garlic or cauliflower, but this potato-free version has both. The cream is totally optional, therefore the amount completely subjective. Fortunately, it's added last, so you can add it to taste, and perhaps even conduct your own side-by-side taste test.
— Ari LeVaux
1/2 cup butter
6 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
6 cups chopped cauliflower stems (supplemented with crowns, as necessary)
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 to 2 teaspoons crushed black pepper, depending on taste
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock)
1/4 cup cream
Melt butter in a large pot and add leeks, cauliflower, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. When the onions and leeks are softened and translucent, add the water/stock. Simmer for 20 minutes, adjust seasonings. Let cool to room temperature, and blend. Stir in cream, put the finished soup in the fridge and chill. Garnish with minced chives and serve. Serves 8.
— From Ari LeVaux
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