Gazpacho
Gazpacho.

Cool & Colorful Soups for Summer Meals

When you’re planning a summer menu, make sure you consider serving soup shooters as an hors d’oeuvres or starter. Garden vegetables like zucchini and tomatoes make delicious hot soups, but they’re guaranteed to impress when you serve them chilled in shot glasses, mini teacups, or other small containers. The serving size for each of these recipes is for a full serving (cup or bowl), so the yield will be higher depending on the size of your glasses. For ease of serving, transfer cold soup to a pitcher and pour into the glasses.

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VICHYSSOISE 

SERVES 10

I often include traditional leek and potato soup in my Irish cookbooks (to order signed copies visit irishcook.com), and here it’s transformed into Vichyssoise, the chilled version of the popular soup.

2 ounces butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 large leeks (white and light green parts only), sliced

4 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

Salt

White pepper  

4 cups chicken broth

2 1/2 cups half and half (more, if needed, to thin)

Chopped chives, dill, or thyme, for garnish (optional)

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, leeks and potatoes; stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until vegetables are soft but not browned. Add parsley, thyme, pepper and broth; bring to a boil.  

2. Reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove soup from heat; let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender); purée until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl; whisk in 1 1/2 cups half and half.

4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (and up to 12 hours). At serving time, stir in remaining 1 cup half and half to desired consistency. Transfer to a pitcher; pour into small glasses. Garnish with chopped chives or a sprig of dill or thyme, if desired.

CHILLED ZUCCHINI SOUP

SERVES 6 TO 8

4 to 5 medium zucchini, washed, trimmed and cut into cubes

1 large onion, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

Salt

Ground black pepper

Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)

1. Put zucchini into a large saucepan; add onions. Sprinkle with curry powder; stir to coat. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover; simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.

2. Remove soup from heat; let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. 

3. Working in batches, transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender); purée until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (and up to 12 hours).

4. At serving time, stir in cream, milk, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a pitcher; pour into small glasses. Sprinkle with chives, if desired. 

GAZPACHO

SERVES 6 TO 8

            There are countless versions of this traditional Spanish tomato soup from Andalusia, ranging from velvety smooth to rough and chunky. Once the tomato crop is more than you can handle, think of this soup, half smooth/half chunky, for a lovely addition to any summer menu. 

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped

2 small green peppers, seeded, and roughly chopped

2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salt

Ground black pepper

Tomato juice, for thinning soup (optional)

1/2 cup finely diced cucumber, for garnish

1/2 cup finely diced tomato, for garnish

Basil sprigs, for garnish

1. Add the onion, garlic, cucumber, 1 of the peppers, and three quarters of the tomatoes to a food processor. Purée until smooth; transfer to a large bowl.

2. Finely dice the remaining chopped pepper and remaining chopped tomatoes. Stir into the purée; stir in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, thin with tomato juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (and up to 12 hours).

3. Transfer to a pitcher; pour into small glasses. Garnish with diced cucumbers and tomatoes a sprig of basil.

Margaret Johnson’s “Recipes” page expands this year to “Ireland Hopping: Adventures in Food, Drink, and Travel.” For further details on her work or to order a signed cookbook, visit www.irishcook.com.