On a hot summer day, starting the meal with a chilled soup is very refreshing. In fact, having an entire dinner that is chilled or served at room temperature is a great idea.
You may recall having read my prior post on Cena Fredda, the traditional cold Italian supper usually served outdoors. I made a delicious cold salmon as the main dish on that post, and it would go quite well if you start off with the below recipe for chilled basil mint soup. Thankfully, you can prepare all of the meal in the early morning hours before it gets too hot. Then when supper comes, you can quickly move it outside into the shade and enjoy a feast fit for a Roman emporer.
Of course, the most famous cold soup is probably Gazpacho, which has ancient roots. It likely arrived in Spain and Portugal with the Moors or was brought in by the Romans, nobody is quite sure. But once in Spain it became a part of Andalusian cuisine. There are many modern variations of gazpacho, often in different colors and omitting the tomatoes which we think of in the classic Gazpacho soup, and replacing them with avocados, cucumbers, parsley, watermelon, grapes, meat stock, seafood, and other ingredients. So this basil mint soup could be thought of as just a variation on the Gazpacho theme.
The below recipe is one that I adapted from one published in Martha Stewart Living. The recipe is largely the same, but I substituted Greek yogurt for the sour cream and reduced the water just a bit to complensate. The hot sauce is optional, but do try to use at least a drop or two in the soup, which will give it just a bit of flavor yet still be very mild. For those that like their summer chilled soup to make them sweat, use the full 1/2 teaspoon!
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup sliced scallion
1/2 cup water
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1. Puree yogurt, basil, mint, scallion, and water in a blender. Add cucumber. Pulse until just combined but still slightly chunky.
2. Stir in lemon juice and hot sauce, and season with salt.
3. Chill soup at least 3 hours (soup is best served the same day).