I’m not a soup person per se, but I do love the comforting coolness of a thick chilled soup when the heat tops the mid 80s. For me a good cold soup should have the same appeal as a smoothie but savory enough to satisfy a pokey appetite. I find that a bright flavored vegetable soup that’s roughly pureed does the trick. The challenge of making a cold soup in the heat is that often you must cook the ingredients first. I deal with that challenge by cooking early in the morning before getting to work. By 8am the puree is in the fridge and by 6 or 7 it’s there waiting for me to eat after I cool off with a long shower. Yesterday I could feel the heat by 6am so while waiting for the water to heat for my morning coffee I started dinner. I’ve officially used my pressure cooker enough that it’s a no brainer for me when I don’t want tons of heat wafting through the kitchen and I want to keep stove time to a minimum. But, of course you can make this brightly flavored Carrot Soup in the conventional way. I give directions for both below. Note that there is no garlic in the soup. I wanted to keep the “warmer” flavors to a minimum to reinforce the soup’s refreshing quality. I used soy and fish sauce to tamp down the sweetness of the carrots enough to give a more savory profile to the dish.
Cool Carrot Soup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
A 2” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
10 carrots, peeled trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
1 small russet potato, trimmed and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce (or more to taste)
Salt to taste
Slices of pickled peppers, onions, fennel (or your favorite pickle) to garnish
Yogurt to garnish (optional)
In a heavy soup pot or pressure cooker sauté the onion and ginger in the olive oil until they take on some color and soften a bit. Add the carrots and potato to the pot with a quart of water.
Add the soy and fish sauce. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot and turn the heat down so the mixture simmers. Cook until carrot and potato are very soft. Remove from heat. Turn the mixture into a rough puree using a food mill, immersion blender or food processor. You can even use a potato masher. The trick is not to make a silky smooth puree. You want some texture to make the soup more satisfying. Taste the puree and adjust the soy and fish sauce if necessary. If necessary, add salt to taste.
If using a pressure cooker, put on the lid and cook over high heat until you reach high pressure. Adjust the heat to maintain the pressure and cook for 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pressure normalize naturally. Remove the lid and follow the directions in the previous paragraph to make the puree.
Chill the soup until cold. Garnish with small pieces of your favorite pickle. Add a dollop of yogurt if you wish.