Seriously Simple: Chilled soups hit the spot as we enter the dog days of summer

Seriously Simple: Chilled Soups Hit The Spot As We Enter The Dog Days Of Summer
Diane Rossen Worthington/TNS

Zucchini and corn are summer vegetables that belong together.

<p>Zucchini and corn are summer vegetables that belong together.</p>

Diane Rossen Worthington/TNS

Zucchini and corn are summer vegetables that belong together.

This summer vegetable soup checks all the boxes. It’s cold, tangy, slightly sweet, light and refreshing.

Zucchini and corn are summer vegetables that belong together. I like to grill them and show off their intrinsic sweet and mellow flavors. Sometimes I don’t have the time for setting up the grill, so I rely on high heat roasting the vegetables. This is best done in the early morning, so your kitchen stays cool the rest of the day. Also, you need time to let the soup cool.

Don’t worry if the vegetables seem crowded on the pan. As they roast, they shrink. Make sure to turn them once while they are roasting, so they are evenly cooked. Adding the fresh basil leaves after the vegetables have roasted brings out the basil’s sweet and savory herbal qualities.

The corn acts as a natural thickener. You can control the desired thickness by adding more or less stock. Use a blender for best results. If you don’t have a blender, you can use an immersion blender and transfer the vegetables into a large bowl first. Make sure when you use it to always keep the wand on the bottom of the bowl when pureeing so it doesn’t splatter all over.

Once the soup has chilled, you will notice it has thickened. Buttermilk is added to balance the sweetness of the vegetables and help thin the mixture. The corn and basil topping adds a pretty and tasty finishing touch.

Serve the soup in small glass bowls. You can also serve it as main course soup by adding chopped shrimp or crabmeat to garnish. I like to accompany this soup with a chilled rose.

Cold Zucchini and Corn Buttermilk Soup

Serves 6 to 8

For the soup:

  • 2 leeks, cleaned and light green and white part only, finely chopped
  • 8 medium zucchinis, sliced
  • 2 ears corn, husked and shucked
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • Salt and white pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups buttermilk

For the relish:

  • 1 ear corn, husked and shucked
  • 2 tablespoons, finely chopped basil

1. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Arrange the leeks, zucchini slices and corn kernels on the sheet pan. Drizzle the oil over the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper.

2. Mix the vegetables until evenly coated. Roast for 20 minutes, turning the vegetables with a flat spatula halfway through so they will evenly cook. Roast another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes.

3. While the vegetables roast, make the relish: combine the last ear of corn and the 2 tablespoons chopped basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

4. Transfer the vegetables and 3 tablespoons chopped basil into a blender or a large bowl along with the chicken stock; blend or use a hand immersion blender and process until pureed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Transfer to a serving bowl, (or use the bowl in which you blended the soup), cover and refrigerate for about four hours or until chilled; Once chilled, add the buttermilk, whisk to combine and taste for seasoning.

6. To serve, ladle soup into small glass bowls and garnish with the corn and basil relish.

(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at