Chef Walter’s Flavors & Knowledge: Chilled Summer Soup

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Serves 4

Eating cold soups at meals can be a delicious and refreshing way to beat the summer heat. Gazpacho and vichyssoise are probably the two most well known cold soups, but the possibilities are endless. Many types of vegetables or fruits can be used to make a cold soup and the base may be a cream, a broth or a combination. Try this vegetable-based variation below and you will not be disappointed.

Ingredients

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra

2 spring onions, bulb only, chopped

4 ounces green beans, trimmed

1 zucchini, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 jarred roasted pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon, fresh chopped mint

4 ounces mesclun greens

4 cups vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tomatoes, core and seeds removed, diced

½ green chili pepper, seeds and inner white ribbing removed, minced

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1 clove garlic, minced

4 ounces ditalini pasta

Chopped parsley for garnish

Directions

In a deep skillet over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the spring onions, green beans, zucchini, carrot, roasted red pepper and mint, and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the mesclun greens and the vegetable stock. Adjust flavors with salt and pepper, and simmer for 30 minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender, and puree. Set aside in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the tomatoes, with the chili pepper, rosemary and garlic. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and set aside to marinate. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the ditalini, and cook until aldente. Drain, and set aside to cool. To serve, pour the cold soup into chilled bowls, and distribute the ditalini among them. Garnish with the tomato mixture and the chopped parsley, and drizzle with olive oil.

Other cold soup variations

You have probably heard of Gazpacho which is a Spanish cold soup that is tomato based. It is made with fresh summer vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumbers, celery and onion, in addition to the tomatoes. Parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and garlic usually flavor the soup. The ingredients can be combined ahead of time and left in the fridge to become even more flavorful. Containers that don’t react to the acidity of the ingredients should be used. Ajoblanco is sometimes called white gazpacho. This light-colored Spanish cold soup is made with almonds and fruit, but it is not sweet. Garlic and vinegar give the soup a savory appeal. Some chefs add anchovies and/or breadcrumbs to Ajoblanco. The fruits used vary, but apples, white grapes or melon are common. Vichyssoise is a classic French cold soup and this is what many people think of when considering eating cold soups. The main ingredients are leeks, onions, broth and heavy cream. There are many possible variations of vichyssoise. Potatoes and carrots may be added. Grated carrot or chopped chives may be used to garnish the vichyssoise.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog

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