Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst says that whether you serve them hot or cold, soups are a great addition to any summer meal.
She brings Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson a clam and fish chowder and a potato and leek soup that can be served heated or chilled. Kathy also shares a couple of soup recipes that don’t require cooking.
Kathy’s Summer Soup Recipes
Clam And Fish Chowder
This New England-style chowder uses a combination of fish and shellfish, but you can easily substitute other types of seafood depending on what part of the country you live in. You can mix things up even more by adding sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, and add a cup or two of shucked fresh summer corn kernels off the cob.
Feel free to cook a slice or two of thick bacon first and sauté the onions and potatoes in some of the remaining fat. You can crumble the cooked bacon on top just before serving.
Traditionally chowder is served with oyster crackers, but you can serve this version with warm crusty bread, warm biscuits or crackers.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 medium onions or 1 large, chopped onion
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1½ pounds haddock, or other somewhat thick whitefish, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound swordfish, or other fish steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 dozen littleneck or 1 dozen cherrystone clams, scrubbed clean and shucked over a bowl to catch all the juices*
- 1 pound potatoes, like Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons flour**
- 2 cups fish stock (ask your fishmonger for it; it’s usually kept in the freezer case)
- About 2 cups milk
- About ¾ cup heavy cream
- A tablespoon or two of butter, optional
- Sweet paprika
*If you don’t feel comfortable shucking clams at home, ask your fishmonger to shuck them and keep all the juices. Be sure to make the chowder the same day as you get the clams.
**If you like a thinner chowder you can reduce the amount of flour by half or use none at all. If you like it very thick add an additional ½ to 1 tablespoon.
In a large soup pot, warm the oil and butter over low heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 12 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the thyme and the potatoes and cook, stirring, for another 10 minutes.
Add the haddock and swordfish pieces and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Raise the heat to high and sprinkle on the flour, stirring to coat all the fish and vegetables. Add the clam juice (not the clams) and the fish stock and the remaining tablespoon of thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just about tender.
Meanwhile heat the milk and cream in a small saucepan until warm over low heat. Add the milk/cream to the chowder and heat over low heat. Season to taste.
To serve, add a tiny touch of butter to a bowl of hot soup and sprinkle with paprika. Serves 6 to 8, depending on what else it is served with.
Cold Cucumber Soup With Mint, Dill And Lemon
On a steamy summer day this is the perfect lunch or dinner. The soup is whirled in a blender or food processor and can be made in less than 15 minutes. Chill for several hours (or overnight) and serve with chopped cucumber, dill and mint and a drizzle of lemon oil. Look for garden fresh cucumbers at your local farmer’s market.
- 1 ½ pounds cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped*
- ¼ cup fresh dill
- ¼ cup fresh mint
- 1 cup low fat milk or buttermilk
- 1 cup sour cream or low-fat plain yogurt
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Dash hot pepper sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon-flavored olive oil, or 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, optional
- Garnish: 1 cup cucumber (peeled, seeded and finely chopped) mixed with 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill and 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
- Drizzle of lemon olive oil or olive oil mixed with lemon juice, optional
*To seed a cucumber simply cut it in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds in the middle.
In the container of a food processor or blender, add the cucumbers, dill, mint, milk and sour cream or yogurt and process until blended, but not totally smooth. Add salt and pepper and hot pepper sauce to taste and drizzle in the olive oil (and lemon juice) if using. Place in a bowl or jar and chill for several hours.
Serve ice cold sprinkled with the cucumber-mint-dill mixture and a drizzle of oil. Makes about 4 cups; serves 4 to 6.
Potato And Leek Soup (Or Vichyssoise)
This is a classic. Served hot, it’s potato and leek soup, one of the best comfort foods around. Served cold, it’s called Vichyssoise and is thoroughly refreshing. If you’re serving the soup cold plan on letting it chill for at least 4 to 6 hours. Both can be made 24 hours ahead of time.
The soup is delicious served with a touch of basil or chive oil or an herb flavored oil swirled into it.
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 8 medium leeks, about 2½ pounds, dark green part discarded and pale green and white section cut lengthwise and then into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 5 large medium starch potatoes, about 3 pounds, like Russet or Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- About 8 to 8½ cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- Salt and a generous grinding of black pepper
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Minced fresh chives for garnish
In a large soup pot, heat the oil over low heat. Add the leeks, chives and thyme, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes, stir well and cook for 2 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add 8 cups of the stock, salt and pepper to taste. (Be careful not to over-salt the soup if using canned chicken broth.)
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Working with a food processor or blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth. If the soup appears to be too thick add the additional ½ cup of stock. Stir in the cream and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Reheat over low heat until simmering, or cover and chill for at least 4 to 6 hours, or until well chilled.
Serve hot or cold with a generous sprinkling of the minced chives. Serves 8.
Add a swirl of this emerald green oil into the Potato and Leek Soup.
- ¾ cup packed chopped fresh chives
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Using a food processor or blender, purée the chives and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes ¾ cup.
This classic Spanish-style cold summer soup is like drinking a garden salad. I urge you to shop at a farmer’s market or find a friend with an overflowing garden because this is all about using the best summer vegetables. A bowl of gazpacho is like a bowl of summer. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread and olive oil.
- 4 pounds ripe summer tomatoes (the more varieties the better), cored and chopped
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 cups stale* bread cubes (from leftover bread), cut into ½-inch pieces
- 12 large basil leaves
- 6 scallions, chopped
- ½ cup sweet onion, chopped
- 1 medium sweet green or red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey, if tomatoes aren’t very sweet, optional
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
*Stale doesn’t mean moldy. It means day or two-day-old bread that is beginning to turn crusty and hard. If the bread is too hard to cube, place it in a warm 250 degree oven for a few minutes to soften it up.
- 2 medium tomatoes or 12 cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium cucumber, chopped
- 1 large red or green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 8 basil leaves, thinly sliced
- Lemon-flavored olive oil or olive oil mixed with ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
Mix all the ingredients for the soup in a large salad bowl and toss. Working in batches in the container of a food processor or blender, combine the mixture. Blend until almost smooth. The soup will be chunky. If you like it smoother, blend a little longer. Taste for seasoning and add more oil and vinegar if too thick. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and honey.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve cold topped with any or all of the garnishes. Serves 8.
Kathy Gunst, resident chef for Here & Now and author of the upcoming book “Soup Swap.” She is also the author of “Notes from a Maine Kitchen” and the video series “Simple Soups from Scratch.” She tweets @mainecook and is on Instagram @kathygunst.