Last week my wife came home and told me that she had a cup of soup and half sandwich for lunch at a local luncheonette in Napa, CA. The only thing that seemed strange about the menu items is that it was 102 degrees outside and the menu selection boasted Split Pea Soup. It must have been extremely warm going down and even hotter for the soup chef in the stifling kitchen.
Pea soup is a great autumn soup. Chicken Noodle is perfect for spring. And Beef Barley is the match for winter. But summer is the season of cold, cool, chilled soup.
More and more frequently chilled soups are appearing on menus across the country nudging out the Minestrone and the Beef Vegetable. Of course, the one soup that will always remain a summer staple is the famed New England clam chowder. Aside from this, however, summer is the perfect time to put warm soups on the back burner.
The main benefit of chilled soup is that I can be a combination of ingredients which are readily available in the cooler. And, chilled soups tend to cleanse the palate and are also less filling in many respects than the hot and heavy soups of winter.
Three favorite summer chilled soups that I have always experienced to be tremendous sellers are Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup, Chilled Asparagus Soup, and Chilled Berry Soup.
There are numerous variations on the preparation of these soups but most can be prepared in a food processor with the exception of the asparagus which need to be blanched before hand.
Here are three easy recipes that will please your customer and increase your soup sales during the warm summer months.
Cold Berry Soup
One of the simplest and most refreshing soups of summer, this tangy, creamy mix is very low in calories and is packed with healthful ingredients. It is coolness itself. Use the berries you picked for unbeatable freshness.
3 cups buttermilk
3 cups orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
dash ground cinnamon
dash ground nutmeg
1 cup washed fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or any combination)
Whisk together the buttermilk, orange juice, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and chill the soup thoroughly.
Cucumber and Avocado Soup
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 ripe Haas avocados, pitted, peeled, and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cold water
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1. In a blender or food processor, combine the cucumber, avocados, green onions, lime juice, sour cream, and water. Process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick for your liking, thin it with water.
2. Stir in the cilantro and serve immediately, or cover and let chill. Serves 4.
Chilled Asparagus Soup
2 pounds of Asparagus, chopped, blanched
1/2 c. plain yogurt or sour cream
2 cups Buttermilk
1/2 c. chopped cucumber
1 tbsp. chopped red onion
Combine asparagus and buttermilk in the food processor. Blend on medium until blended to a smooth consistency. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Gradually add the yogurt, stirring constantly until smooth. Blend in cucumber and onion. Cover and chill overnight. Ladle into chilled bowls and serve. Serves 2 to 3.
An added touch for the chilled soup set is to serve as small portion of Tio Pepe Sherry with the soup. Many will sp it as they enjoy the flavors of the seaon, while others will drizzle the sherry into the soup to bring out the flavors of the garden.
Nothing beats a bowl of chilled soup on a hot summer night. And it will simultaneously bring dollars to the bottom line.