Two Garden Vegetable Soups, Chilled
What could be more refreshing on a hot August night than a bowl of cold soup?
For many of us, cold soup is synonymous with gazpacho, the “liquid salad” of southern Spain. According to Clifford A. Wright, award winning cookbook author, gazpacho originated in the Spanish region of Andalusia, probably during the Middle Ages.
Gazpacho’s endless variations include the addition of cucumbers, green and yellow tomatoes, green beans, black and white beans, even cauliflower; others feature almonds, green grapes, or watermelon. Nearly all call for garlic, peppers, vinegar, and olive oil.
The following gazpacho recipe is one that I have tweaked to please nearly every palate. Not too thick, not too thin, not too spicy, not too bland. If you prefer a fierier bowl of soup, by all means add chili peppers, tomatillos, cayenne, or hot sauce to the mix.
Traditional tomato-based gazpacho is made with bread, soaked in olive oil, vinegar, and water. This recipe contains no gluten, but a few slices of country bread (soaked, squeezed, and added to the food processor) will definitely produce a thicker gazpacho. While I use V-8 juice, many recipes use more tomatoes and just a little water in lieu of the juice. If you prefer a chunkier version, process the vegetables very little or not at all.
3 cups V-8 juice 1 cucumber
¼ cup olive oil ½ red pepper
¼ cup red wine vinegar 3 stalks celery
Juice and rind of 1 lemon 2 tomatoes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 5 green onions
2 cloves garlic 6 sprigs parsley or cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon paprika
Combine the liquids and spices in a bowl and beat to mix well. Finely chop vegetables in a food processor and add to the soup base. Stir well and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.
Chilled Cucumber Soup
The second soup, a chilled cucumber, is a version of green gazpacho. Unlike most gazpachos, this soup contains dairy, giving it a velvety texture. I have included it here to complement the classic red gazpacho. Both soups may be garnished with fresh herbs, diced raw vegetables, croutons, sour cream, or seafood (crab and shrimp work well).
1 1/2 pounds cucumber
2 cups yogurt
2 cloves garlic
3 scallions, white and green parts
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
½ cup fresh herbs, mixed (mint, parsley, dill, tarragon, basil, cilantro)
Juice and zest of one lemon
Salt to taste
This recipe is adapted from Melissa Clark, New York Times Cooking. Melissa substitutes buttermilk for the yogurt, and sherry or white wine vinegar for the lemon juice. She includes the optional addition of two anchovy fillets.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, adjusting seasoning as needed. Chill for several hours or overnight. Melissa Clark suggests garnishing the soup with raw kernels from one ear of corn, and adding a drizzle of olive oil before serving.