For the summer of course, we want just the opposite. We want a meal that will provide a refreshing and cool respite from the heat of the day. We don't want to have our stove or oven warming an already hot kitchen. We want to take advantage of the abundance of fresh produce coming from our garden, the Farmers Markets or grocery store. We may want a lighter meal on those hot days, something that won't weigh us down. So bring in a bowl of cold soup!
Many countries have cold soups as part of their food culture. In Poland, Russia and other Eastern European countries, Borsht (there are many spellings) is a common soup made with beets and usually served with sour cream. Gazpacho, from Spain and Portugal is a semi-pureed vegetable soup serve cold. Fruit Soups have a history in many counties including China, European Nordic Countries, and in some areas of the Middle East. While some of these may be an acquired taste, many adaptations, and some new recipes can easily become a part of your summer meal plans.
Here are some recipes using PA Produce that is so readily available over the next few months. If you are not used to making Cold Soups, for these and other recipes available through the resources listed at the end, you may have to put aside some preconceived notions about what ingredients go together and have some trust in the recipe, as it can seem like a venture into some very unfamiliar territory. Serve this new menu item with a familiar favorite - something from the grill, toasted pita bread, slices of cheese, or a side of rice. You may just start a new family favorite.
- 2 cucumbers, halved but not peeled
- 3 red peppers, cored and seeded
- 8 tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 6 cups tomato juice
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 ½ tsp. pepper
- Garnish of lump crabmeat if desired
Coarsely chop all the vegetables. Combine in a large bowl the vegetables, garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer it sits, the more the flavor develops. Garnish with lump crabmeat.
Source: University of Delaware Extension factsheet
Cold Cucumber/Dill Soup
- 2 large cucumbers, halved and seeded--1/2 cup finely diced, the rest coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/3 cup dill
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons loosely packed tarragon leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Fresh ground white pepper
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
In a blender, combine the chopped cucumber with the yogurt, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, dill, parsley, tarragon and the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Season the soup again just before serving. Garnish in bowls with the finely diced cucumber, red onion and a drizzle of olive oil and serve with toasted pita bread.
You can find lots of ideas for making Cold Soups full of fresh vegetables and/or fruits. Here is a link to a mini recipe book from Utah State University Extension