Feeling hot, hot, hot? Cool down with these five fabulous cold soup recipes that are made for summer.
#1 Chilled Spanish Style Tomato Soup
This sophisticated recipe is a close cousin of gazpacho, a Spanish soup usually made with a tomato base. A slew of protein- and flavor-rich garnishes make it a delicious meal.
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, 1 small clove garlic, smashed; 3 slices white sandwich bread, torn into 2-inch pieces; 1/3 cup blanched almonds, toasted; 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar; 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil; coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.
Make a 1/4-inch-deep X in bottom of each tomato with the tip of a paring knife, then core. In a large pot of boiling water, blanch tomatoes 30 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl of ice water and let stand until cool. Drain; peel and quarter tomatoes. Transfer tomatoes to a blender along with garlic, bread, almonds, vinegar, and oil. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute; season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
#2 GOLDEN GAZPACHO
Escape the heat with a refreshing bowl of gazpacho. For the best colour and flavor, choose deep yellow heirloom tomatoes and golden yellow squash.
2 pounds yellow heirloom tomatoes, cored and quartered; 1 small yellow onion, diced; 1 medium yellow squash (6 ounces), halved lengthwise and thickly sliced; 1 yellow bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into large chunks; 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced; 1/2 cup carrot juice (fresh or canned); 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar; 2 tablespoons olive oil; coarse salt; 1 avocado, 1 small tomato.
In a food processor or blender, working in batches, combine yellow tomatoes, onion, squash, bell pepper, garlic, carrot juice, vinegar, and oil. Pulse until finely pureed. Season with salt. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours. At serving time, halve pit, and dice the avocado. Core and dice the red tomato. Serve soup in chilled bowls topped with avocado and tomato.
#3 WATERMELON GAZPACHO
From unconventional to full-on fruity: Slurp a savory-sweet gazpacho of watermelon or peach.
5 cups peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped watermelon, plus 1 cup finely chopped; 1/2 cup cranberry juice; 1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber; 1 cup diced celery (about 2 stalks); 3/4 cup diced red bell pepper; 1/4 cup diced red onion; 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced; 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced; juice of 1 lime; 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar; 1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, minced.
Combine 5 cups watermelon and the cranberry juice in the jar of a blender, and puree until mixture is smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a large bowl or plastic storage container, discarding pulp. You should have 3 cups strained liquid. Add cucumber, celery, bell pepper, onion, herbs, lime juice, vinegar, jalapeno, and remaining cup chopped melon to watermelon liquid and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until soup is well chilled, at least 1 hour.
#4 CUCUMBER BUTTERMILK SOUP
This two-ingredient soup makes a simple, satisfying side for chicken or fish. If you have more time on your hands, try your hand at experimenting with a Cucumber-Buttermilk Gazpacho.
2 cucumbers, peeled, halved, and seeded, plus thin cucumber rounds, for serving; 2 cups buttermilk; coarse salt and ground pepper; extra-virgin olive oil, for serving.
Roughly chop 1 1/2 cucumbers; dice remaining cucumber half. Place roughly chopped cucumber in a blender with buttermilk and blend until smooth, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Divide soup among four bowls and stir in diced cucumber. To serve, top with cucumber rounds, a drizzle of oil, and more pepper if desired.
#5 SWEET RED PEPPER-BEET SOUP
This tangy chilled puree gets its striking colour from earthy beets and red bell peppers. They’re cooked with shallots and then blended into a silken soup. Goat cheese, a traditional partner to beets, lends creaminess. A squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of sea salt heighten the flavors.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; 2 shallots, chopped; 3 red bell peppers, stems, ribs, and seeds removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces; 2 red beets, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; 1 cup water;2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; sea salt and freshly ground pepper; 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup); lemon wedges, for serving.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally until shallots are translucent and tender about 4 minutes. Add bell peppers and beets, and stir to coat. Add water and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Cover partially, and reduce heat. Simmer until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
Remove saucepan from heat, and let cool slightly. Stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, puree mixture in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl, and refrigerate until chilled, up to overnight.
Divide soup evenly among 6 to 8 bowls. Sprinkle each with goat cheese. Season with pepper, and serve with lemon wedges.
The finishing touch
Don’t overlook the importance of the accompaniments. Eggs, tuna, cured meats, and other protein-rich items make the otherwise light-bodied soup a satisfying meal. Try crusty bread, chopped hard-cooked eggs, tuna in olive oil, sliced ham or prosciutto, Spanish olives, Marcona almonds, manchego cheese or crackers. Set everything out in separate dishes, and let everyone pick and choose among the offerings.