As summer approaches, we’re all eager to revel in the treats that come with it. Now I love chasing after the Mister Softee truck just as much as the next guy, but another great way to cool down is with SOUP. Not piping hot soup of course, but chilled, luscious, creamy, vegetable-laden soup. Generally people’s minds stray to gazpacho when the subject of chilled soups arises (which is often, right?). Tomatoes are great and I’m equally as excited to try new things with a watermelon (what?), but let’s not forget about the old standby: vichyssoise.
Vichyssoise typically features potatoes and leeks as the star vegetable and is served chilled. Growing up I always assumed there was some sort of seafood involved and was sure to steer clear. This is not the case. It is actually fish-less and delicious. I knew I wanted to make a chilled soup so I flipped through my copy of Betty Rosbottom’s ultra functional guidebook to everyone’s favorite liquid meal, Sunday Soup.
It is conveniently broken down by season. So I flipped to the summer section (yes, it’s still spring, but I’ve always been a little impatient) and landed on a fun twist on our old pal vichy — this time with a special squash guest star. I give you…Zucchini Vichyssoise.
Like most soups, it began with a dream…no wait, I mean chopped root vegetables softening in olive oil. I’ll take any excuse I can get to use my Dutch Oven. It is a heavy, clunky beast, but makes you feel instantly like a seasoned chef working out of a rustic kitchen in Provence.
Finally all the ingredients come together for a long, hot soak in vegetable broth. The recipe called for chicken broth, but I’ve decided that they’re interchangeable and this way my vegetarian friends can still join the fun.
Now this image represents history in the making. Yes, that is an immersion blender. One of the greatest cooking tools ever. It’s a blender…that you IMMERSE into things. Could it be cooler? No. My mom gave me my immersion blender for Christmas…of last year! And I have yet to use it. A travesty, I know. I just never got around to christening it. I think we busted it out for margaritas once, but that just doesn’t do it justice. My level of excitement had definitely surpassed appropriate while employing the immersion blender for the first time. The softened vegetables are no match for the churning blades that you can manipulate so easily with a twist of your wrist. Before you know it, the soup is totally blended…and slightly resembles baby food. But it’s all part of the plan.
The pureed veggies get a little added creaminess whisked in by way of some milk. The recipe calls for whole, but skim is what I’ve got, so skim is what I use. The best part about making a cold soup? Well, this just seems obvious. You don’t have to serve it warm! Temperature has been all but removed from the equation. Just pop this bad boy out of the fridge and it’s ready to go. I made it on Friday night for a Sunday dinner party. It’s like, the opposite of cooking.
When you’re ready to serve, you can follow Betty’s directions and add an obscene amount of sour cream. Or you can lighten things up by using one of my favorite swap outs: Greek yogurt. It’s creamy. It’s tangy. It’s versatile. A dollop of devilishly good-for-you yogurt and a sprinkling of chopped chives and this chilled soup will go like hot cakes. Or cold cakes, in this scenario.