Some vegetables are the little black dresses of the crisper. For instance, carrots are the perfect everyday casual accompaniment to a sandwich, but they can also get gussied up and go fancy with a buttery bath and a simple toss in of slivered almonds and minced chives. Carrots also have a sultry side, especially when exotically spiced and topped with finely shredded mint and cilantro.
I know there’s only a small percentage of the population that has an unreasonable fascination with chilled soups and I happily count myself as one of the few. This isn’t a genetically shared trait. My family never served chilled soups and in fact, if it was ever suggested, they would have surely cringed.
Somewhere along the line, I was introduced to chilled soup. It was the ’80s and everyone was living like there was no tomorrow. I’d gone to a party and before I knew it, someone was passing a tray lined with little miniature cups of chilled vichyssoise. All it took was one sip and I was hooked. I spent my 20s wandering upscale restaurants, always on the lookout for something to satisfy my craving.
Eventually, through trial and error, I learned to make my own chilled soups. This one is a keeper. It’s perfectly spiced, very exotic, and just the thing for a hot afternoon.
Chilled Carrot Soup
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
Spices (I used Turmeric, Cumin, Dried Cilantro, Nutmeg, Paprika, and Ginger)
Fresh Ground Pepper and Fine Sea Salt
White Wine, Vermouth, or Chicken Broth (or a mix of all three)
Full fat Greek yogurt
Minced cilantro and mint
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan.
2. When butter begins to brown, toss in spices and stir; let the heat release the oils for 15-30 seconds and then toss in the carrots.
3. Gently brown the carrots until they are lightly caramelized (about 15 minutes). You may need to add just a bit of liquid, but you shouldn’t add more than a tablespoon or two or else you will no longer be caramelizing the carrots.
4. When the carrots are caramelized, add the liquid and simmer until the carrots are tender.
5. Let cool, completely, in the liquid, and then process in small batches in a blender or food processor adding additional liquid to achieve the desired consistency.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
8. Serve with yogurt (or you can add a little heavy cream to sour cream to thin) and top with cilantro and mint.