Summer Soup

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Cliff Wright is a chef and cookbook author specializing in traditional Mediterranean food.  He is the author of many books, most recently Bake Until Bubbly! The Ultimate Casserole Cookbook for Everyone.  Cold soups can go way beyond Gazpacho and Vichyssoise.  Cliff likes to use fruit as the base for some of his summer soups, including watermelon, apples and peaches.

Serves 4

4 large garlic cloves
 2 tsps salt
1 red or green bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded
2 slices week-old French bread with or without crust
2 1/2 pounds very ripe tomatoes (such as Carmello tomatoes), peeled, chopped and passed through a sieve to remove all seeds (save some of the juice to soak the bread in)
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 Tablespoons high quality Spanish sherry vinegar
1 hard-boiled egg yolk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 ice cubes

1. In a mortar, pound the garlic and salt until mushy. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until mushy.
2. Soak the bread in the juice from the tomatoes and a little water, then squeeze out as if you were making a snowball. Add the bread to the processor and pulse a couple of times until well blended. Add the tomatoes and process for 5 seconds, then pour in the olive oil while running the food processor continuously. Add the cucumber and process some more. Drizzle in the vinegar and add the egg yolk while continuing to process. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin, if desired.
3. Tranfer to a bowl and add the ice cubes. Leave in the refrigerator for several hours before serving, stirring occasionally and serve when the ice cubes have melted with a selection of garnishes.

Chilled Peach Soup
Serves 4

4 large ripe peaches
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
Crème fraîche for garnish (optional)
6 large fresh mint leaves, cut into fine ribbon confetti with scissors
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat, then add the peaches and boil until their skins loosen in 1 minute. Remove and peel off the skins and remove the pits. Cut up the peaches.
2. Place the peeled peaches in a blender with 1 cup of the wine and blend until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan with the remaining cup of wine, the water, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a near boil over high heat, stirring almost constantly, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon and cloves and chill the soup in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve garnished with a small dollop of crème fraîche, if using, and the confetti of mint.

© Clifford A. Wright. The Best Soups in the World. Wiley, forthcoming.