Test Kitchen: Chilled Peach Soup with Fresh Goat Cheese

It’s almost summer (or, by the time you’re reading this, it hopefully will feel like it), so I’m skipping the oven this month and trying an entree that just uses a blender.

It’s almost summer (or, by the time you’re reading this, it hopefully will feel like it), so I’m skipping the oven this month and trying an entree that just uses a blender.

My idea of cold soup is melted ice cream, but, apparently, I haven’t been thinking big—or savory—enough.

A quick Google search for “cold soup” returned an overwhelming number of recipes, and it wasn’t just variations on gazpacho or beet soup (thankfully). I picked this chilled peach soup with fresh goat cheese recipe because it sounded like something that actually would be better cold than hot.

When I read through the steps, I worried that I’d landed on a recipe that was too labor-intensive, but the bigger issue turned out to be time, not effort. The cold-soup endeavor takes at least two days because it has to sit in the fridge overnight before you can blend it, and then it has to sit another hour in the fridge the next day before you can serve it.

I made this soup in March, when there weren’t fresh peaches in stores yet, so I took a (necessary) shortcut and bought two jars of cling peach slices in 100 percent juice. After that, the first day of the recipe was just chopping everything up and throwing it in a bowl to soak up flavor overnight.

I made a mistake and accidentally crushed the garlic clove I put in the bowl—I thought I was supposed to—but it’s intended to be pulled out the next day before the soup is blended. Whoops. Luckily, I realized my mistake before I stirred everything, so I grabbed out as much as I could the next morning.

At some point during adulthood, I inherited an immersion blender that, until this recipe, I had not used. It did the job for the soup, though the mixture still looked a little gritty even after 10 minutes of blending. I’m not sure whether that was the fault of the blender, or if it was the cold goat cheese sitting all night. After the hour in the fridge, it thickened up and looked a lot better.

The flavor of the soup, even with a bite that included a big hunk of goat cheese and a homemade crouton, was really vinegar-forward. I did not put more on the top for seasoning and would cut down the amount in the soup next time.

This was a fun recipe, but I don’t think I’d make it as a main entree. It could be a cool appetizer in small glasses, though.

3 cups sliced peeled peaches (about four peaches)
1/4 cup finely diced, peeled seedless cucumber, plus thin slices for garnish
1/4 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper, plus thin slices for garnish
1/4 cup diced dried apricots
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons crumbled fresh goat cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, plus more for seasoning
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
1 large garlic clove
2 cups diced baguette (1/2 inch)
Basil leaves for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a bowl, toss the peaches, diced cucumber, yellow pepper and apricots. Add the honey, 3 tablespoons of goat cheese, 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Add the garlic. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Discard the garlic. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a blender and puree. Add 1/4 cup of water and puree until very smooth and creamy; add more water if the soup seems too thick. Season with salt and vinegar. Refrigerate the soup until very cold, about 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the diced bread and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the croutons to paper towels and season with salt.

4. Pour the peach soup into shallow bowls and garnish with the sliced cucumber, sliced bell pepper, goat cheese, croutons and basil. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, season with black pepper and serve.

SOURCE: foodandwine.com

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass