Ever since actor Jennifer Coolidge’s character deadpanned the line about things that she and her octogenarian husband enjoyed, “we both love soup“, in the hilarious film, Best In Show, I’ve never been able to think of soup in quite the same way. But, all kidding aside, the art of preparing soups can be more than just a way to use up those veggies getting wrinkly in the fridge. Some soups like vichyssoise, bouillabaisse, and cioppino are found in some of the finest restaurants in the world. And although soups are often thought of as cold weather dishes, many of soup’s main ingredients are at their peak of flavor and availability in the summer. Soups are almost always easy to make, they are usually loaded with beneficial nutrients, and fresh produce is still the best bargain in the store. Another benefit of making a batch of soup is that there is almost always enough for leftovers, and it tastes even better the next day. My next several posts will be devoted to my tried and true favorites.
Gazpacho – When fresh, home-grown tomatoes show up in mid-summer I start to crave gazpacho. There is nothing quite like the intense flavors of tomato, onion, basil, and cucumbers in a cool, slightly spicy base, served rustic and chunky, or smooth and elegant. There are countless gazpacho recipes. This is one I received from a friend many years ago and it is still one of my favorites. Save a few chopped herbs and veggies for a little garnish on top.
Another terrific recipe: Gazpacho Andaluz, from Cook’s Illustrated, is a silky smooth and brilliantly flavorful cold soup. Like most of Cook’s Illustrated’s recipes, they have simplified and improved the preparation and the result is a very wonderful dish. Do try it.