Beat the Summer Heat with These Chilled Soups
Gazpacho may be a warm weather staple, but chefs across the country have found other creative ways to bring the ease and charm of cold soups to the table. These dishes highlight peak summer ingredients and are great foils to decadent garnishes like flurries of Manchego and coral-colored pearls of salmon roe. Easy to make ahead, they’re elegant appetizers, or you can serve one with a great loaf of bread and call it dinner.
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Courtesy Jenn Louis, chef/owner, Ray, Portland, OR
Jenn Louis garnishes this soup with sweet Oregon bay shrimp dressed with jalapeño, mint and lemon. Any small shrimp works, as would crab or crisp-fried prosciutto.
About Chef Jenn Louis
A favorite from the Bravo show Top Chef Masters, Louis is a multiple James Beard Award nominee and author of two cookbooks, Pasta By Hand and The Book Of Greens. Her one-year-old Portland, Oregon, restaurant, Ray, highlights the varied influences on modern Israeli cuisine and uses local ingredients.
- 1½ pounds peeled, seeded cantaloupe, diced
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 6 ounces cooked bay shrimp
Blend cantaloupe, breadcrumbs, walnuts and garlic until smooth. Add oil, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt, and purée until smooth. Transfer to large bowl, and whisk in buttermilk. Add salt, to taste. Pass through medium strainer, and chill in refrigerator.
Serve in shallow bowls, topped with shrimp and drizzled with olive oil. Serves 4.
Troon 2016 Cuvée Rolle Vermentino (Applegate Valley). Louis suggests this natural wine from her fellow Oregonians at Troon Vineyards. Co-fermentation with 10% Marsanne adds white peach and melon flavors to the green fruit of this Vermentino. Despite its youth, it’s smooth and well integrated, with a touch of vanilla cream on the finish.
Courtesy Doug Psaltis, chef/partner, Booth One, Chicago
This clever soup serves up classic gazpacho flavors in a verdant hue. Some heirloom tomatoes are green when ripe, but the green tomatoes called for here are just unripe common varieties. You can substitute tomatillos when green tomatoes aren’t available, just add a teaspoon of sugar.
Chef Doug Psaltis
Psaltis worked with top chefs like Alain Ducasse, Thomas Keller and David Bouley before he opened a series of beloved Chicago restaurants. Booth One, his latest, is a reinvention of the legendary Pump Room at the Ambassador Chicago hotel. There, Psaltis serves updated fine-dining classics as well as creations that reflect the vegetable-forward and globally influenced direction of modern American cuisine.
- 1 pound green tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs, soaked in ½ cup water
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ cups packed baby spinach
- Salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 8 ounces fresh king crab meat
Blend tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, garlic, breadcrumbs and ¼ cup olive oil until smooth. Add spinach and lemon juice, and purée until silky. Add salt, to taste. Refrigerate.
Serve in shallow bowls topped with crab and drizzled with remaining olive oil. Serves 4.
Dürnberg 2015 Tradition Reserve Grüner Veltliner (Weinviertel). “Grüner does translate to green,” says Seth Wilson, head sommelier at Booth One. “This wine exhibits fresh lime and youthful orchard fruits, but resting on its lees for 10 months gives it a beautiful yeastiness to complement the breadcrumbs blended into the soup. Secondary flavors of cucumber, white radish and white pepper heighten the savory, spicy and herbaceous flavors.”
Courtesy Tracy Chang, chef/owner, PAGU, Cambridge, MA
Ajoblanco is a classic cold soup from the Andalucía region of Spain. Tracy Chang embellishes hers with salmon roe, though trout roe or caviar would be delicious as well. Make breadcrumbs from white bread without the crusts to keep the soup light in color. Keep in mind that this soup is very rich, so serving sizes should be small.
Chef Tracy Chang
Chang’s restaurant, PAGU, merges childhood time spent in her grandmother’s Japanese restaurant with more recent years in San Sebastián, where she worked with star Basque chef Martín Berasategui. You’ll find jamón ibérico and classic pintxos alongside uni mazemen and chicken katsu, but there are dishes that bridge the two, like curry crab croquetas and squid-ink oyster bao with seaweed aioli.
- 1 cup blanched almonds
- 1 clove garlic
- 1¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs, soaked in 1 cup water
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish)
- 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 2 ounces ikura (cured salmon roe), or other fish roe
- 1 tablespoon minced chives
Blend almonds, garlic, breadcrumbs and olive oil until smooth. As blender runs, add vinegar, salt and 1 cup water. Purée until smooth. Pass through fine-mesh strainer. Chill in refrigerator.
Serve in small bowls, topped with ikura and sprinkled with chives. Serves 4.
Txomin Etxaniz 2016 Getaria (Getariako Txakolina). “This is a crisp, mineral-driven white wine from Basque Country, where I lived,” says Chang. “It’s refreshing, due to its slightly effervescent quality, especially when poured from a high height, as they do in that part of Spain. It pairs very nicely with creamy dishes and seafood, and is a wonderful start to a meal.”
Courtesy Ford Fry, owner, Ford Fry Restaurants, Atlanta
With the corn stock prepared in advance, this soup comes together in seconds. It showcases the beauty of sweet summer corn. Serve immediately, as raw corn loses sweetness quickly.
Chef Ford Fry
In the 11 years since he opened Atlanta’s Jct. Kitchen & Bar, Fry has amassed an empire of eight restaurants in the Atlanta area, including Marcel, a 2017 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wine Restaurant. He also has a restaurant in Houston, with more in the works. From casual Tex-Mex to old-school fine dining, his restaurants give a simple showcase to top-quality ingredients, while exuding Southern style and warmth.
- 6 ears corn
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar, plus moreto taste
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- ½ cup fine-grated Manchego cheese
- ¼ cup Thai basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Scrape corn kernels off cobs. In large saucepan, submerge cobs in 6 cups water, milk, sugar and salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Strain, and reserve stock. Refrigerate until cold.
Place 4 serving bowls in freezer, to chill.
Blend corn kernels, crème fraîche and 1½ cups corn stock until smooth. Add salt and/or sugar, to taste. Pass through medium strainer. Serve immediately in chilled bowls. Top with Manchego, Thai basil and drizzle of olive oil. Serves 4.
Nigl 2016 Freiheit Grüner Veltliner (Niederösterreich). “A youthful and vibrant white wine like this is a great foil for Ford’s corn soup,” says Eduardo Porto Carreiro, beverage director for Ford Fry Restaurants. “The wine’s pure pear notes and hint of savory minerality perfectly complement the creamy sweetness of the chilled soup.”
Courtesy Katy Smith, executive creative chef, Puesto, San Diego
Beets are common in Mexican cuisine, especially around Christmas. While it could be served hot in the winter, chilling this soup gives a nice contrast to its rich spice.
Chef Katy Smith
With a longtime love of Mexican cuisine, Smith served as test kitchen director and culinary assistant to the American prince of Mexican cooking, Rick Bayless. She worked on his Emmy-nominated PBS television series, cookbooks and podcast. Smith returned to her native Southern California in 2016 to join the Puesto team as executive creative chef for its five locations, with another in the works.
- Olive oil, for pot
- 1 large white onion, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 12 ounces steamed beets, coarse-chopped
- 1 large (or 2 small) canned chipotle chile peppers
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Mexican crema
- Toasted pepitas
Heat soup pot over medium heat, and coat with olive oil. Add onion and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and salt. Cook 1 minute, then add chile, beets and stock. Bring to simmer, and cook 15 minutes.
Blend until smooth. Add adobo sauce from chipotle can, if desired. Pass through fine-mesh strainer. Chill in refrigerator.
Serve soup topped with dollop of crema and pinch of pepitas. Serves 4.
Lechuza 2015 Chardonnay Acero Inoxidable (Valle de Guadalupe). “This Chardonnay is stirred on the lees prior to filtration, giving it a slight creaminess that complements its lean, bright character,” says Lucien Conner, beverage director and manager at Puesto. “The wine’s crisp apple and citrus fruit draws up the sweetness of the beets, just as the wine’s acidity cuts it back. The minerality—typical of Valle de Guadalupe terroir—teases out a pleasing touch of the beets’ earthy character.
- 1Cantaloupe Buttermilk Soup with Bay Shrimp
- 2Green Tomato Gazpacho with Crab
- 3Ajoblanco with Ikura Soup
- 4Raw Corn Soup with Manchego
- 5Mexican Beet Soup with Chipotle