Cold Soups 101. The basics. Our ABCs are g and v, for gaz-pacho and vichyssoise, the latter being the best thing ever to happen to a potato, the former being a Texas staple and one of summer’s surest salvations. No one makes gazpacho the same way, which is part of its appeal. (Not everyone spells it the same way, either; the “z” is sometimes traded for an “s”.) This Southwestern favorite, made of tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and lots of simple seasonings, is hearty, healthy and-are you taking notes?-easy. Most gazpachos can be created in a blender, as can this recipe we particularly like from John F. Mariani’s The Dictionary of American Food and Drink.
Peel and seed two tomatoes and chop together with one seeded sweet red pepper, two cloves garlic and two tablespoons seasonings, such as basil, tarragon, parsley, scallion, onions and chives. Add one cup olive oil, three tablespoons lime juice and about three cups chicken broth. Puree’ in a food blender or food mill; add salt, pepper and chopped cucumber; and chill for several hours. Serve with bread crumbs or bread cubes and white onions.
If you’ve got to have it faster than that, try Au Bon Gout’s much-loved gazpacho, which is prepared to go and sells for $2.75 per serving (about a cup). It comes in cup-, pint- and quart-sized containers. Au Bon Gout, 4424 E. Lovers Ln., 369-3526. Takeout hours: Mon-Sat 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Advanced Souping. Moving into the realm of the more exotic, consider the pink poetry of Café Royal’s cold wild berry soup. Too pretty to eat, perhaps, but just watch us. Sous chef Hans Bergman prepares this tart, refreshing oddity using four kinds of fresh berries, including raspberries and blueberries. He floats a hefty dollop of cream in the center and garnishes the soup with mint leaves. Since it appears du jour, but not daily, with several other special summer soups (such as melon, peach and zucchini, all cold), call first to find out what’s on. Cafe Royal, Plaza of the Americas, 650 N. Pearl, 747-7222.
Other area restaurants have their own interesting variations on the theme of cool soup. If searching them out sounds like more fun than a summer reading list, start here and keep us posted on your progress. Class dismissed.
Lentil, at La Deli, 5433 N. MacArthur, Las Colinas, 258-1163.
Artichoke, at Au Bon Gout, 4424 E. Lovers Ln., 369-3526.
Apple, at Nana Grill, Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Frwy., 748-1200.
Tomato bisque, at Di Palma, 1520 Greenville Ave., 824-4500. Cucumber and dill, strawberry mint, watercress and papaya raspberry with lemon yogurt, all at Dakota’s, 600 N. Akard, 740-4001.