Denise at Quickies on the Dinner Table, an accomplished cookbook author, cook, and newest member of the Blogcritics family, charitably offers up another cold summer soup. I say charitably because if you read her recent blog post, The Devil, The Spice Trade, & Mr. Scoville , you would appreciate the need for something cooling. She is the queen of expressive, passionate fusion cooking. This simple and sublime dish pictured above is flawless. In this soup, yogurt is the star on the marquee. Please stick to real thing, no reduced-fat yogurt here. Actually, it is a thinned down version of Tzatziki, where mint is used in the place of dill. If Denise’s soup does not start a party in your mouth, check your pulse; you may be dead.
In mine own cauldron, I cooked up the Gandules and Asparagus soup pictured above. Gandules, or pigeon peas, are a staple of Caribbean cooking. This legume contains high levels of protein, along with amino acids. You can purchase them dried, canned, or frozen. The cooking of the soup is a bit involved, but worth the effort. First you want to create a strong flavor base of bacon, leeks, red peppers, onion, and shallots. Next we add a whole bottle of Albarino, an amazing white wine from Spain. Allow the wine to reduce until almost dry to intensify the imprint left on the soup. Add the pigeon peas and water and simmer away. I puree and strain this soup in order to achieve a truly silky, velvety mouth feel. The garnish for the soup is reserved gandules, pan-roasted asparagus tips, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Soup is an ancient food, and in my humble opinion an amazingly complex and wonderful culinary treat in a bowl. The countless different preparations and serving temperatures boggle the mind. The only limitation is the imagination and flair of the sorcerer working the cauldron.