Chilled Marinated Peach Soup with Dried Apricots and Goat Cheese
by Victoria Challancin
I am a sucker for cold soups, drawn to them like bees to honey, especially in hot weather. So how do I account for this recipe, which we prepared in a cooking class I taught to Mexican cooks on Wednesday, when we have experienced nothing but very unseasonable rain and dreariness for what seems like weeks? How do I account for it? Well, just read the title--marinated peaches and dried apricots with goat cheese? Of course this appealed to me. I'll call it DNA: the peaches are a tribute to my mother who hailed from Georgia and the goat cheese is a nod to my Dad's (French-) Italian family. Those apricots? Did I ever tell you about the time I got caught in the apricot-drenched Swat Valley in northern Pakistan, where surely I left a piece of my heart, not to mention of my car. Yes, this recipe grabbed me.
I didn't have pretty basil on hand for garnish, so I used watercress instead. Delicious.
Cook's Notes: This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. We didn't have time for the overnight marination and it was still terrific! I can only imagine if the flavors were more intense! I used watercress for garnish and purchased croutons. I also used white wine balsamic vinegar as I haven't yet found white balsamic here in San Miguel.
Recipe: Chilled Peach Soup with Fresh Goat Cheese
(Recipe by Chef Jason Franey from Seattle's Canlis Restaurant via The Seattle Times)
3 cups sliced peeled 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 or cubes for garnish
1/4 cup diced dried apricots
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons crumbled fresh goat cheese, plus more for garnish
1$ cup white balsamic vinegar, plus more for seasoning (or white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large garlic clove
2 cups diced baguette (1/2-inch cubes)
Basil leaves, for garnish (or watercress, as I used here--or mint)
Freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, toss the peaches, diced cucumber, yellow pepper, and apricots. Add the honey, 3 tablespoons goat cheese, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Add the garlic. Gently stir to coat the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
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 soup seems too thick. Season with salt, honey, and vinegar to taste. Refrigerate the soup until very cold, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, if making croutons, in a medium skillet heat the remaining 1/4 cup 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.
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.
Oops! Where are the croutons?
Ah, the croutons, here they are.
©Victoria Challancin. All Rights Reserved.
Flavors of the Sun Cooking School and Travel
San Miguel de Allende, México