September is here, summer is gone, our warm weather is wavering, and cold breezes are coming. Fall is my favorite time of year, so I am quite happy in it’s appearance. But, still, it’s sad to leave summer, with it’s beautiful produce behind. This is a “goodbye to summer” soup I tried recently. It’s using produce (cucumbers) that are still in high production around here. It’s absolutely beautiful. And while it is almost getting too cold to want cold soup, it’s still warm enough to thoroughly enjoy it.
I had actually never made a cold soup before, so was a little nervous about making one. To top it off, I decided to make it on a day when we had guests. But I got my recipe from a man I trust, James Peterson. I have been eying many of his wonderful recipes in his cookbook, Splendid Soups. This is a huge book entirely devoted to soups, savory soups, sweet soups, hot soups, cold soups, ethnic soups, comfort soups and more. My favorite food is soups, so this book has a huge appeal to me. I can’t wait to try some of his other recipes now that I have made this one with such success. If you love soups, I would definitely check it out.
All to say, he didn’t fail me in this recipe and it was a success. This soup is very flavorful, bright, and satisfying. It has nourishing chicken broth, eggs, and vegetables in it and is extremely satisfying on a warm day. It also makes a nice change from tomato gazpachos which are more common (but also very delicious). I should mention that when I first mixed it up and tasted it, I really wasn’t sure I was going to like it. But after I let it chill for a couple of hours, the flavors melded together so nicely, that I loved it!
Maybe I won’t mind summer coming again after all!
White Gazpacho with Peppers and Cucumbers, by James Peterson
I used a food processor instead of a blender- Makes 8 servings
2 red peppers, roasted and peeled (cut in half and seed, roast under a broiler, skin side up, until the skins start to blacken, let cool 5 minutes then peel with your fingers and a sharp knife)
3 garlic cloves
2 regular or 1 hothouse cucumber, peeled and cut into 1 inch sections
2 eggs (you can use raw, but I followed his instructions for cooking them, by cooking them in simmering water for 5 minutes, letting them cool, then carefully scooping them out of their shells)
5 slices country french bread, crusts removed, lightly toasted
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth, or water (I used chicken broth)
1/4 cup of virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of good white win vinegar
cayenne pepper, or Tabasco sauce
small croutons sauteed in olive oil
Optional: I served this soup with more cubed and peeled cucumbers (one), and fresh basil leaves. I think that the basil adds a lot of flavor and the cucumber adds nice texture.
1-finely chop the pepper for the soup, putting some aside for garnish. Combine the garlic, finely chopped peppers and cucumbers in a blender. Blend for about one minutes, until the mixture is smooth
2-Soak the bread in 2 cups of the broth and add it to the blender and your cooked eggs. Process the mixture for 1 minute more, until smooth
3-Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and gradually stir in the olive oil with a wooden spoon as though making a mayonnaise. Stir in the vinegar.
4-Strain the mixture through a food mill with a medium disk or through a medium mesh strainer. Season with salt and cayenne or Tabasco.
5-Chill the soup for a couple of hours or overnight. Serve it in chilled bowls and sprinkle with small croutons and cubes of roasted red pepper, and the optional cucumber and basil.