Monday, June 18, 2012

Cold Soup

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho from Borgne.
In my experience, cold soup is a polarizing dish. The proponents, which includes myself, consider cold soup a refreshing, flavorful beginning to a meal and one of the best culinary creations designed to beat the sweltering heat of a New Orleans summer. On the other side of the aisle are those who hold steadfast to the conventional wisdom that soup by nature is eaten to raise the body temperature of the consumer, not cool it down. Legend has it that the deep seeded animosity between the two sides sparked the origin of the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys.

Cold soup season usually begins before Memorial Day when the daily highs begin to consistently break 90°, but I did not sample my first cold soup of the year until late last week. Borgne has recently revamped its menu to feature a few summer specialties, one of which is a yellow tomato gazpacho. While some traditional red versions of this cold tomato soup have a bracing acidity which can cause an instantaneous ulcer upon contact with your stomach, this golden version was mellowed with cucumber and spiced with yellow bell pepper, which gave the soup a nice overall balance in flavor. The finishing touches of compressed melon and ham chips delivered sweet, salt and crunch. Delicious to the last spoonful.

Gazpacho is certainly the most popular way to abate the summer heat with a spoon, but it's not the only way.  Vichychoisse is a rich, creamy, cool potato and leek soup usually found on the menus of the city's oldest creole restaurants. Chilled cucumber soups had been in vogue over the years, but I have never tasted one worth ordering again. I have only eaten ajoblanco on one occasion at an unknown restaurant in Madrid three years ago, but a faithful reader has informed us that Lola's on Esplanade serves this southern Spanish staple made from crushed almonds and garlic.

What say you? Cold soup: yay or nay?


Domo said...

The delicious crab and avocado laden watermelon soup from The Green Goddess is my favorite summer soup.

Sir Velvet said...

First of all, yes to cold soup. Most can be made easily at home as well. Second, a resounding yes to Lola's Ajo Blanco soup. Maybe the best soup in town.

Jude Boudreaux said...

I love a good Vichyssoise, but never been able to get into Gaspacho.

The Green Goddess soup mentioned in the comments sounds quite interesting though...