CHILLED TO PERFECTION Cool summer soups are a refreshing addition to warm-weather menus.

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 Just as the cauldron of hot soups, broths & stocks provide comfort and solace on a winter’s day; chilled soups are a refreshing respite from the heat of summer. As the great French Chef Auguste Escoffier said, “Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite", while Beethoven claimed” Only the pure of heart can make good soup". But in this sweltering heat, they have to be chilled right down and served iced cold.


The king of cold soups is gazpacho. In essence, they are wonderful thirst-quenching, liquid salads, made with fresh, raw vegetables and ripe tomatoes; and they are the perfect thing for long, hot summer days. Gazpacho has humble, peasant origins and was originally made by pounding bread, water and garlic in a pestle and mortar long before the arrival of the tomato and the discovery of the new world. In modern times, tomatoes, cucumbers and
peppers were added, and then spiked with a little olive oil and vinegar. A star was born and in time, this simple peasant soup would go on to grace the tables of some of the world’s most lavish restaurants.

Gazpachos are really easy to make and keep well in the refrigerator for 2-3 day's. In fact, they quite often taste much better the day after as the flavours become more pronounced. It’s also a really healthy start to a meal and makes for a great snack at any time of the day. You can also pour it into a flask to keep cool and take it to the beach. When making gazpacho, make sure you choose perfectly ripe tomatoes that are full of flavour as well as good olive oil and high quality sherry vinegar.

For other alternatives, why not try my minted pea soup with salmon tartare or chilled tomato and basil soup, peppery watercress or a cold potato and chervil soup. Pumpkin and lime is refreshing and carrot and orange is energising and will also to help your suntan along.
 
Chilled soups also make wonderfully light, healthy desserts and they don’t have to be boring at all. One of the best selling items on our dessert menu at Tasca de Blanquerna is a Strawberry Gazpacho soup spiked with olive oil and sherry vinegar. So stay in the shade and chill out with cold soups this summer…its time to drink your lunch and dinner.




MINTED FRESH PEA SOUP WITH SALMON TARTARE



Ingredients:            serves 6
tiny
3            leeks (finely chopped)
1            onion (finely chopped)
50g            butter
2            potatoes (peeled and diced)
1.5l            vegetable stock
12            mint leaves (finely chopped)
500g            frozen peas
250ml            milk
            Juice of one lime
            Seasoning


Sauté the leeks and onion in the butter in a heavy saucepan until tender. Do not allow to colour. Add the diced potatoes and stir to mix. Pour in the stock; bring to the boil and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. Add the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the milk, mint leaves, lime juice, season to taste and liquidise the soup in a food processor until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve, refrigerate and serve iced cold.

Salmon Tartare

250g salmon fillets, skinned
2tbsp chopped chives
3tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Seasoning

Place the salmon with the chives, olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor. Blend to form a fine mince. Season to taste.




GAZPACHO ANDALUZ


    Ingredients:             serves 4

4                        ripe tomatoes
Cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2                         green peppers
Medium onion, peeled and chopped
2tbsp            sherry vinegar
200ml            good olive oil
2tbsp            tomato puree
200g             yesterdays bread
Garlic cloves
500ml            cold water
6            Ice cubes
2tbsp            mayonnaise (optional)
                        Salt / pepper



Place all the ingredients, except the mayonnaise, in a bowl and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Place in a food processor and blend to a fine consistency. Pass through a fine sieve whisk in the mayonnaise, chill and serve in a soup tureen.



CHILLED STRAWBERRY GAZPACHO
WITH A WHITE CHOCOLATE FOAM


Ingredients:            serves 6

Chilled strawberry gazpacho
1kg            Strawberries
75g            caster sugar
100ml olive oil
2tbsp   sherry vinegar
            Juice of 2 lemons

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a fine puree.
Pass through a sieve and chill for at least 2-3 hours.

            White chocolate foam

375ml            milk
150g            white chocolate coverture

Chop the white chocolate and place in a bowl. Bring the milk to the boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until all the white chocolate has melted and pour into a soda siphon. Charge with gas and leave to chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
To serve: Pour the chilled strawberry into tall glasses and top with white chocolate foam. Garnish with fresh strawberries and lemon verbena.


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