In hot weather we have a tendency not to eat. Who wants to sit in front of steaming plate of food when the temperature is soaring and the humidity stifling? The best bet is probably a nice big bowl of chilled soup. Be it savory or sweet, it will leave anyone refreshed and full.
In Spain they have gazpacho. The raw vegetable-based chilled soup has been in Spanish history, depending on the theory of origin, dating back to either the Moors or the Romans. Eaten widely throughout the country, traditional gazpacho is made with tomatoes, garlic, onion, stale bread, salt, and vinegar. Modern variations step away from tomato and stale bread in favor of avocados, cucumbers, watermelons, and even parsley as their main ingredients. The new key ingredients provide not only a different taste but a new color spectrum to gazpacho.
In France there are questions around vichyssoise; the thick soup that probably boasts the blandest color packs quite a punch in the flavor department. The puree of leeks, potatoes, onions, cream, and chicken stock has widely debated origins. Julia Child claims it is “an American invention” in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, while French chef Jules Gouffé had a hot version of potato leek soup published in 1869. Finding the truth might take longer than making the soup itself.
Although savory cold soups might be appealing to some, sweet soups tempt others. Sweet soups can include ingredients such as milk or cream, alcohol such as brandy or champagne, and spices. While some, like the sour cherry soup that several European countries favor, take more effort to make with ingredients such a fresh sour cherry, cream, a bit of clove and cinnamon, and some wine, others can be as simple as pureeing fruits with sugar and some juice.
Cold soups are probably not as appreciated as their hot counterparts in any other time of the year, but come summer everyone will embrace it. Why not try cold soup this weekend to fight the heat?
Blueberry Orange Soup
2 pints fresh blueberries
1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons sour cream
6 ounces plain yogurt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
Puree all ingredients in blender and strain. Chill until ready to serve.
Optional: Add Grand Marnier to taste.