Soup is the epitome of a home-cooked meal. My fondest vivid food memories are of arriving home from school and being besieged by the aromas emanating from the kitchen. Powerless against the magnetizing pull, I would drop my book bag and head straight there. In the kitchen, there was Grandma standing over a large cauldron on the fire, her magically talented hands conjuring up another masterpiece for us to savor.
Soup, according to the dictionary, is a liquid food derived from meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and fruit. However, that does not come close to encapsulating what a soup is or means to humans. The popularity of soups today may be due to the increased emphasis on healthy living. On the other hand, it could be due to myriad other reasons. There are countless types of soups, such as clear, thick, vegetarian, ethnic, broths, chowders, etc. Whatever the case, soups are going nowhere and acquiring the skills necessary for soup-making is of paramount importance to any aspiring chef. The cooking of soup is both straightforward and complex. Single out your main ingredient, cook it flawlessly, and adjust the thickness. Certainly, there are nuances, the add-on components can make or break your concept. Creams add texture, body, and silkiness, but they also mute flavors. Oils offer a finishing touch that can take soups to another division. Do you puree and strain? What garnishes to use? That’s why I feel there is something magical about soup conjuring.
If you like gazpacho, you will love the creation pictured above. Watermelon and Tomato Gazpacho with Goat Cheese and Basil is the work of Silvia at Citron et Vanille. Perfect for the summer months when two seconds spent outside make you melt like an ice cream, this soup is a great study in balance and harmony. The inherent sweetness of the watermelon and tomatoes make a fine paring with balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, and hot chili powder. For best results serve this dish like you would revenge: dreadfully cold.