Time to Chill – Think Iced Soups

salmorejo2-1When the sun comes out – which it is finally, reliably doing around these parts – our world changes. People’s faces break out in smiles (even in Basel ;-)), arms and legs are bared and bronzed, tables and chairs spring up on pavements outside cafés and restaurants, happy swimmers bob along on the Rhine’s speeding current and there’s a contented summer buzz in gardens and vineyards. Cue for iced soups. Refreshing and thirst-quenching, they’re a cinch to make: all you need is a blender or food processor, a few basic ingredients (tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, avocados can play either starring roles or bit parts) and about 6 minutes’ of your precious summer time. And of course by definition (mine anyway) they’re uncooked, so no sweating over the proverbial hot stove – think salad in liquid form.


salmorejos2A classic iced soup – a cousin of gazpacho but thicker, smoother and sinfully creamy (but no cream) – which is gulped down gratefully in the dog days of summer in Córdoba/Andalucia, Spain’s oven, where temperatures hover around the 40-degree mark for most of July and August. It has just tomatoes, yesterday’s bread, garlic, sherry (of course) vinegar and olive oil. I take a tip from my son Ol and add a little raw apple, which brings out the sweet notes in the tomatoes. Serve it well chilled, topped with strips of jamón and hard-boiled egg (hen’s or quail’s).

Makes 6 soup bowls or 10-12 small glasses
100g day-old baguette, trimmed of crusts (weighed after crusts have been removed)
750g tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 apple, peeled
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar or wine vinegar
125ml olive oil
salt to taste – about 1 teaspoon
2-3 slices cured ham (ibérico, Serrano, prosciutto etc.) cut in strips
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped or 12 quail’s eggs, boiled 3 minutes and halved

  • Trim crusts from the bread, cut it in chunks, put in a bowl and pour on just enough cold water to cover – leave to soften
  • Quarter the tomatoes and put them in the blender with the crushed garlic (or put them in a large bowl and use a hand-held blender)
  • Grate the peeled apple with a box grater, add it to the tomatoes with the vinegar and blend till smooth
  • Tip the soaked bread into a colander and press or squeeze out all excess water, add the bread and blend once more
  • If you can be bothered, push the soup through a strainer – it should be silky smooth
  • Return soup to blender/bowl and, with the motor running, dribble in the oil in a steady stream – the salmorejo will thicken and turn from rosy pink to the colour of an Andalucian sunset
  • Season with salt to taste (add 1 teaspoon, then taste) and blend again
  • Chill the salmorejo for several hours or overnight
  • Serve in small bowls or glasses with strips of ham and chopped/halved eggs scattered on top


A nice twist on an old favourite, served in chunky glasses and topped with chopped peppers, egg, cucumber and onion so you can see the different layers.

Makes about 1.5 litres, enough for 12 glasses (or 6 soup bowls)

1 kg vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped
75g (about 1 cup) fresh white breadcrumbs or 1-day old white bread, crusts removed and cut in cubes
4 tbsp vinegar
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper
150ml olive oil
garnish: 2 hard-boiled eggs, ½ cucumber chopped, ½ red/green pepper chopped, a little chopped red onion

  • EITHER blend all ingredients except for the garnish in a huge bowl using a hand-held blender; OR use a blender/processor and work in 2 batches if necessary: put half the ingredients (bar the garnish) in a blender or food processor and blend till quite smooth. Through the hole in the lid of the blender/food processor funnel, pour in half the olive oil and blend till smooth and pale. Tip the gazpacho into a large bowl and blend/process the remaining ingredients in the same way. Mix the two together and taste for seasoning
  • Chill the soup really well
  • To serve, pour gazpacho into tumblers to come about 2/3 of the way up the glass and top with chopped garnishes, alternating the colours for maximum visual effect


This great gazpacho variant (recipe from chef Anton Canelles at Restaurant Senzone in the Hotel Palau de la Mar in Valencia) is made with half-and-half tomatoes and strawberries – they bring a little sweetness (welcome in our northerly climes, where tomatoes are not always as ripe as they might be) without being overwhelmingly fruity. Serve in glasses.
Serves 6-8
500g tomatoes
500g strawberries
1 small red pepper
½ green pepper
1 clove garlic, mashed
½ a cucumber
100-150ml olive oil
a splash of sherry vinegar
salt and white pepper
mint sprigs

  • Remove cores from tomatoes, roughly chop the flesh and put in the blender
  • Hull and rinse the strawberries under running water and add to the blender
  • Remove seeds and cores from both kinds of pepper and chop the flesh roughly
  • Peel the cucumber and remove seeds
  • Add peppers and cucumber to the blender along with the crushed garlic
  • Blend till very smooth, then add the oil in a steady stream through the hole in the blender lid (you’ll need to do this in two batches, unless your blender is very large)
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Add 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar and taste for sharpness, then add more if you like
  • Chill the gazpacho well
  • To serve, spoon into small glasses andgarnish with mint sprigs


A delicate, pale green affair with a bit of an Asian feel – chill the soup well, take it to a picnic or potluck in a thermos and bring glasses for serving.

Makes 1 litre, enough for 4-6 people
2 large cucumbers, about 1 kg total
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
plenty of chopped cilantro/coriander
1 avocado
1 fresh green chile (peperoncini, piment vert), seeded and very finely chopped
[or a pinch of cayenne or Espelette pepper]
juice of 1-2 limes

  • Peel the cucumbers and cut in quarters lengthwise
  • Remove seeds, chop flesh small and put in a colander
  • Sprinkle with salt and leave in the sink to drain (30 minutes)
  • Rinse the cucumbers and pat dry with paper towels
  • Put in the blender with coconut milk, cilantro/coriander, avocado flesh, finely chopped chile (or cayenne/Espelette pepper) and lime juice and blend till smooth – don’t overdo it or the coconut milk may curdle
  • Check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if required
  • Chill the soup well

4 thoughts on “Time to Chill – Think Iced Soups

  1. I have been thinking about trying to make cold soups lately and these are the perfect inspiration. Thanks Sue !

  2. These look absolutely delicious.  The great thing is that all the ingredients are available in Mexico.

    Did I ask you to please add Brinley to your blog?  She would enjoy receiving your wonderful communications.


    1. Hi Frances – happy to know these are all doable in the DF. Yes, got your word re Brinley and replied in an email – not sure I can add her to my blog alerts, she’d need to do it from her end by signing up to receive regular alerts when I post s’thing new, but send me her email and we’ll get in touch. Hope you’re both well, love to you both

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