It is so hot, hot, unbearably hot. Some of it is just summer, some of it is just our apartment and some of it is because of all these hurricanes and tropical storms floating around the area. Ugh.

So we’ve been eating a lot of salads and gazpacho. I never thought that I would be particularly fond of cold soup. But I’ve become a huge fan.

Green Gazpacho: cucumber, grapes, garlic. © 2014 Sugar + Shake

I normally make the traditional red tomato gazpacho, but I came across this Food & Wine recipe for Cucumber Gazpacho, and while I generally avoid cucumbers (especially sliced in salads, ew), it sounded so refreshing. Plus, I was intrigued by the use of grapes in the recipe.

Green Gazpacho: cucumber, grapes, garlic. © 2014 Sugar + Shake Green Gazpacho: cucumber, grapes, garlic. © 2014 Sugar + Shake

The recipe also called for garnishing with sliced almonds, but I had some leftover bread hanging around the kitchen, so I made garlic-butter breadcrumbs and sprinkled those on instead. They added a nice crunchy texture to the smooth soup.

I also followed Chef Quintin Frye’s (Cocina) philosophy and threw in “everything green in the fridge” into the mix; I had a lot of herbs that I’d bought for other things and hadn’t used up—basil, dill, parsley. I liked the fresh, herbaceous flavor they added. And my final tweak: I tried out a new white balsamic vinegar I picked up at Island Olive Oil, Honey-Ginger.

We usually have our gazpacho as our main dish on hot nights, with a little shrimp or salami on the side. If I feel ambitious, I might make cute little sandwiches. It also makes a nice passed appetizer (served in shot glasses) for a cocktail party.

Green Gazpacho

Adapted from Kay Chun, Food & Wine

Use as much or as little of the fresh herbs as you like.

  • 2 to 3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into small chunks
  • 1½ cups green grapes
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Fresh dill, chopped
  • Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey-ginger white balsamic vinegar (or regular white balsamic or white wine vinegar)
  • ½ to 1 cup water
  • Hawaiian salt
  • Garlic-Butter Breadcrumbs (recipe follows)
  • Optional: Chilled Lemony Shrimp (recipe follows)

Combine all ingredients through vinegar and ½ cup water in a blender. Purée and add salt and, if necessary, more water. (You may like a thicker soup.) Chill several hours, preferably overnight. Top with Garlic-Butter Breadcrumbs and serve with Chilled Lemony Shrimp.

Garlic-Butter Breadcrumbs

  • Day-old bread, cubed
  • Garlic
  • Butter

Pulse bread in food processor. Melt butter in a sauté pan. Use a garlic press to crush the garlic, add to the pan and stir. When garlic begins to brown, add bread crumbs. Sauté until bread is golden brown and crisp. Allow to cool.

Chilled Lemony Shrimp

  • 8 to 12 shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Lemon
  • Mrs. Dash Seasoning
  • Garlic salt
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Prepare an ice bath. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add juice from half of the lemon and shrimp. Cook shrimp until opaque—just cooked through. Remove from water and transfer to ice bath. Once shrimp are thoroughly chilled, remove and pat dry. At this point, you can refrigerate them overnight. Before serving, toss with olive oil, remaining lemon juice and seasonings.

What’s your favorite cold soup?