Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Among the pleasures of a hot summer--besides wearing fewer clothes--are cool salads and cold soups. My all-time favorite is an invention of mine, "Mexyssoise," which appears in my first cookbook, Omega 3 Cuisine. It was a takeoff on the French classic, vichyssoise (and that last syllable is "swazz," not "swah," okay?). Pretty much the only similarities between the two are the low, low temperature and the velvety-smooth texture. Although there are potatoes in both, the mexy-version is green, spicy, and has about three times as many ingredients.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, the next great cold summer soup is gazpacho, of Spanish origin, and it has a special place in my heart. I served it to a sexy, beautiful redhead on the patio at my house in Malibu one fateful starry night about twenty-one years ago. Actually, it was "Lobster Gazpacho," although I really don't think that's particularly important. There were two other dinner guests, but all I remember is that afterward I put on some music, we started dancing, and then we were kissing, and we've been together ever since. So you can see why I'm inordinately fond of gazpacho, even if it's not my number one favorite cold soup, yes?

Served in small bowls or cups, gazpacho is a superb starter, because it leaves you eager to keep slurping, and crunching the succulent raw bits. Here is my formula, and all you have to do is mix everything together and chill it several hours:

2 or 3 cups vegetables juice (like V-8, or a more natural version), or tomato juice
2 cups tomato puree (preferably Italian passata di pomodoro)
1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, and finely diced
1 yellow pepper, roasted, peeled, and finely diced
1 green pepper, roasted, peeled, and finely diced
1 hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
1 bunch scallions, green parts included, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
EVOO, fresh lemon juice, sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper, to taste (you figure it out)

With or without the lobster pieces, this is one delicious soup (I'm advocating without, but I won't be watching, so you're on your own). I recommend some Cuban music afterwards...

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