The Simple Art of Cooking: Cold Soups Are a Hot Summer Treat

The ideal openers for meals on the dog days of summer are cold soups. With so many summer fruits and vegetables hitting the peak of freshness it’s just a matter of minimal cooking or no cooking at all, adding broth or other liquid and seasonings then blending the soup to a smooth puree.

Gerry Hayden, executive chef/owner, with his wife Claudia Fleming, pastry chef of the North Fork Table and Inn, offers his Catapano’s goat farm-inspired chilled grape soup with goat yoghurt and goat cheese, one of my chef recipe picks from Savoring the Hamptons: Discovering the Food and Wine of Long Island’s East End. There are at least 10 different recipes for gazpacho in my cold soup files. Here I choose Gazpacho in the Spanish Manner. While most authorities agree that the original gazpacho was made from bread paired with water and seasoned with olive oil, vinegar, garlic and salt, the gazpacho below is clearly a delicious update.

Any time a do-ahead dish is refrigerated whether a soup or salad or a dish to be reheated, remember that cold tends to mute flavors. The allure of cold soups requires that seasonings be intensified so be sure to taste before serving and adjust as
necessary.

GAZPACHO IN THE SPANISH MANNER

There are many new and creative recipes for gazpacho made with ingredients such as yellow tomatoes, chilies and shrimp and other nouvelle ideas. Whatever the case, most authorities agree that the original gazpachos were made from bread paired with water and seasoned with olive oil, vinegar, garlic and salt. No doubt, the addition of tomatoes came after the discovery of the New World.

Serves 6 to 8

2 7-minute farm-fresh coddled eggs

1 medium red onion, sliced

1 cucumber, seeded and sliced

1 large sweet red bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and coarsely chopped*

2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

2 slices stale white bread, crusts removed and cubed

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 1/2 pounds, about 5 to 6 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup tomato juice

Accompaniments: Tiny dice of onion, cucumber, tomato and croutons. Or garnish with drizzle of crème fraiche, tiny dice of sweet yellow pepper and cilantro leaves. (This is newer.)

1. Gently lower eggs into a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat, cover pan tightly and let stand for 7 minutes. Immerse in cold water to stop the cooking. Peel and set aside.

2. Place onion, cucumber, pepper and garlic in work bowl of food processor or blender, and pulse for several seconds to chop and mix ingredients, stopping to push down sides with a rubber spatula as necessary. Add tomatoes; pulse for several seconds longer until thoroughly incorporated but still slightly chunky. Transfer half the pureed vegetables into a large bowl.

3. Break eggs into the work bowl with remaining vegetables. Add bread, oil, vinegar, seasonings and tomato juice. Pulse just to mix and transfer to vegetables in bowl. Refrigerate covered in a suitable container up to done day ahead.

To serve: Serve well chilled from a tureen or individual bowls. Garnish with accompaniments if desired.

GERRY HAYDEN’S GREEN GRAPE GAZPACHO

Gerry Hayden, the executive chef/owner of the North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, prepared this quick and easy Spanish inspired gazpacho at a Hampton’s summer fund-raising event. Chef Hayden incorporates Catapano Dairy Farm’s goat’s milk yogurt for this delectably milky soup.

Serves 6

1 pint plain yogurt, preferably goat’s yogurt

1/2 pound seedless green grapes, washed

1/4 cup blanched and toasted almonds

4 ounces goat cheese, preferably Catapano

1 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

16 marcona almonds* roasted, salted and coarsely sliced

1. Place the yogurt, grapes, almonds, goat’s milk, coriander seeds and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a blender. Blend until ingredients are thoroughly pureed and smooth. Refrigerate the soup for 3 to 4 hours or overnight until ready to serve.

2. Serve well chilled with a drizzle of remaining olive oil and sliced salted almond garnish.

*Note: Marcona almonds known as the ‘queen of almonds’ are imported from Spain. They may be difficult to find and are pricey. For my version blanch at least 2 cups of whole almonds, peel, and while still wet transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet in one layer. Add 2 full tablespoons kosher or sea salt, toss through the almonds then let dry on the sheet pan, covered lightly with a clean kitchen towel, for 48 hours. Uncover and transfer almonds on a single layer on lined sheet pan to a preheated 225 oven for 1 hour-1 hour and 15 minutes until toasty beige. Use what you need to garnish the soup then store the remaining salted almonds in a covered tin—they’ll keep for weeks and make a wonderful snack at cocktail time.

Reprinted from Silvia Lehrer’s Savoring the Hamptons: Discovering the Food and Wine of Long island’s East End.

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