There's nothing more satisfying on a cold winter day than a warm and steamy bowl of soup. Wait a minute — scratch that and reverse it. There's nothing more satisfying on a hot summer day than a cool and refreshing bowl of soup.

Yes — soup!

The most popular version of cold soup, gazpacho, finds its origin in Spain and has been a well-known warm weather dish for centuries.

It began as a mixture of skinned, seeded tomatoes, garlic, oil, salt and crustless pieces of bread from a baguette pounded together in a mortar and pestle. It was then emptied into a large clay bowl where a few more tomato chunks or pounded sweet peppers are added. Thinned with a bit of water and wine vinegar, it was then garnished with cucumber, green peppers or sometimes hard-boiled eggs. The flavors are then allowed to settle and blend together.

As the soup set they would continue to move it to shady spots under trees — so that it would remain cool — until the flavors had properly blended and it was ready to serve.

Depending on the region of Spain there are many variations on gazpacho and now, in modern times, chefs have taken it to a new level of creation.

Another classic chilled soup is vichyssoise. Hailing from France, it is a rich creamy blend of leeks and potatoes that is served cold and garnished with chives.

But this time of year, chilled soup can be made from whatever fresh produce that is available.

No matter what's in your fridge, you've probably have on hand enough summer flavor to create a cold soup. You can use just about anything – berries, tomatoes, herbs, zucchini, squash, avocado, potatoes or onions.

Creamy, chunky, pureed or sweet – chilled soups are an easy addition to any summer dinner without adding heat to your kitchen. These soups are best made ahead of time so they have time to chill and the flavors combine.

Another important tip to remember is that when something is cold it tends to taste less salty so adding a bit more salt is important to highlighting all the flavors of the soup. Taste during prep and then taste again after chilling to decide if the soup needs a bit more salt.


Authentic Vichyssoise




1/2 pound leeks, white part only

1/2 pound potatoes, peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 cups chicken stock

salt and white pepper, to taste

1/3 cup cream

1/3 cup buttermilk

chopped chives, for garnish




Cut the leeks and potatoes into thin slices. Add the leeks to a stockpot with the oil and cook over low heat until soft, but not browned. Add the stock and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Working in batches puree the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and chill completely. When ready to serve stir in the cream and buttermilk. Check for seasoning again and add additional salt, if necessary. Garnish with small julienned strips of fennel and chopped chives.


Cold Corn Soup




2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/4 cup light sour cream

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Pinch cayenne, pepper

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced




In a blender, working in two batches, puree corn, yogurt, milk, lime juice, coriander and cayenne. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Stir in chopped shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with tomatoes, avocado, and reserved whole shrimp. Serves 4.


Chilled Asparagus & Sweet Onion Soup



2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt, to taste

1 medium sized sweet onion, 1/4 inch slices

1 pound green asparagus stems (see note), finely chopped

1/4 cup white wine

2 cups chicken stock



In a large pot, combine the oil, a pinch of sea salt and the onions. Cover and cook over low heat without allowing the onions to brown. Cook until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for another five minutes. Add the wine and allow to reduce. Add the chicken stock and herbs and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process to a puree. Pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove any fibers. The soup should be perfectly smooth and have a velvety texture. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot or cold.


Green Grape and Almond White Gazpacho



2 cups diced cucumber from 1 large seedless cucumbers, plus 1/4 cup finely diced peeled cucumber, for garnish

2 cups whole green grapes, plus 1/4 cup diced grapes, for garnish

3/4 cup slivered almonds

2 cups crust less 1/2-inch dice of good white bread

2 green onions, white and tender green parts, cut into 1-inch lengths

1 cup packed watercress leaves

1/2 cup cold water

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper



In a blender, working in batches, puree the diced cucumber, the 2 cups of whole green grapes, 1/2 cup of the almonds and the bread cubes, scallions, watercress, water, olive oil and sherry vinegar until very smooth. Transfer the soup to a large pitcher and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. To serve, stir the gazpacho, then pour it into shallow bowls. Garnish the soups with the finely diced cucumber and grapes and the chopped almonds and serve. The gazpacho can be refrigerated overnight.


Watermelon Gazpacho



4 cups watermelon cubes

2 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded

1-2 fresno peppers, cored and seeded

1 cup cranberry juice

2 tablespoons vinegar

¼ cup mint, chopped

1 cucumber, seeded

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice



In a blender combine all ingredients. Puree completely. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate at least one hour allowing mixture to chill completely and flavors to combine. After refrigerating strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Pour strained mixture into shot glasses or small serving bowls. Can be prepared one day in advance.



Chilled Roasted Tomato Soup



3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 cups chopped yellow onions

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice

4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 quart chicken stock or water



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes. In a stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Pass through a food mill or blend in batches. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa


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