Chilled Spanish Soups
I’m a convert. I admit, previously, gazpacho was my only reference and I never was a fan of cold soup. Why not just drink a smoothie rather than slurp cold liquid from a bowl? Then I traveled to southern Spain and my taste buds had a revelation.
A snap to prepare for any crowd, these four famous Andulusian soups carry a big-wow flavor factor. Each can be prepared in less than an hour, and stored one to three days in advance for the easiest entertaining. Allow at least a whole day in the fridge to achieve the correct chill—they must be served neither icy nor tepid.
To offer a tasting of all four bowls of soup, serve them in order—from delicate to robust. Start with a gazpacho made new with the bright notes of apple. Then offer the oh-so-light sweetness of Melon Soup, especially if made with piel de sapo, a Spanish melon.
Piel de sapo means “skin of the toad”—so named for the melon’s bumpy, dark green exterior. I found the football-shaped melon at Roche Brothers in late August. Other melons can be used, but, just as cantaloupes and honeydews are uniquely flavored, the piel de sapo has its own juicy richness. That said, I experimented with the honeydew to great success. Next up, be surprised by the tomato robustness of Salmorejo de Cordoba, made creamy with pureed, tomato-soaked bread, not cream! Last, garlic-lovers will enjoy the bold Ajoblanco de Malaga, another lush soup of ground almonds, garlic, and soaked bread, pureed to smoothness.
Summer produce gives South Shore and South Coast cooks a chance to try the authentic tastes of southern Spain. Each of these soup recipes whips up in a jiffy and makes four generous appetizer servings. If you plan to serve the four-soup sampler, these proportions will yield a dozen flights of shots.
Suzette Martinez Standring teaches writing workshops nationally and is the author of award-winning The Art of Column Writing and 1he Art of Opinion Writing.