Ceviche, Vichyssoise, & Gazpacho

Cool Summer Soups and More for the End of Summer

Ceviche, gazpacho and vichyssoise are soups designed especially for summer because they are served cold. Ceviche is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in vinegar or citrus juices, such as lemon or lime and spiced with ají sauce or ají peppers or other chili peppers. Chopped onions and cilantro or salt may also be added. Ceviche is usually accompanied by side dishes that complement fish flavors, such as sweet potatoes, lettuce, corn, avocados or plantains. Because the dish is not cooked with heat but by the acids from the citrus fruits, it must be prepared fresh to minimize the risk of food poisoning.

An early form of ceviche was developed nearly 2,000 years ago, and became today’s soup when Moorish women from Granada—who accompanied the Spanish conquistadors and colonists—came to the Americas, bringing citrus fruit (limes and lemons). This dish eventually evolved into what it is now.

Ceviche is a popular international dish that’s prepared in a variety of ways throughout the Americas, and reached the U.S. in the 1980s. It is not native to Mexico, despite being a part of traditional Mexican coastal cuisine for centuries.

Crappie Ceviche

1 pound crappies, cut to bite-sized pieces

8 limes, juiced

2 tomatoes, diced

5 green onions, minced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, minced

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Black pepper, freshly ground

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Rinse crappies and place in a medium-sized bowl. Pour lime juice over the fish, completely covering it. Chill the lime juice and crappies for 4 hours or until fish pieces are opaque (cannot see through them). Remove half of the lime juice from the bowl and add remaining ingredients to the crappies/lime juice mixture. Stir gently. Serve chilled.

Ceviche
(compliments of chef Emeril Lagasse, 2005)

12 ounces very fresh (sushi-grade)

white-fleshed ocean fish, such as grouper, wahoo, sea bass or red snapper or fresh crappies

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons pineapple juice

1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced Serrano pepper

2 tablespoons finely diced yellow bell pepper

2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 tablespoon quality extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 (3-inch) plantain chips

Lime wedges, for serving

Cut the fish into 1/4-inch pieces. Place in a glass dish with the lime juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, peppers, onions and garlic. Toss to coat fish pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the cilantro, olive oil and salt. Fold gently to mix. Serve with garnish of fried plantain chips and lime wedges. (To serve it fancy like Emeril does, put the soup in champagne glasses.)

Vichyssoise

This is a thick soup made of puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken stock. It is traditionally served cold but can be eaten hot.

1 tablespoon butter

3 leeks, bulb only, sliced into rings

1 onion, sliced

5 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 bay leaf

5 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large stockpot, melt butter over low heat. Add leeks and onion. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add thyme, marjoram and bay leaf. Stir well. Cover pot and continue cooking for 12 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook partially covered for 30 minutes. Purée the soup in a blender or food processor. Chill. Before serving, add cream. If you are serving this soup warm you’ll need to reheat the soup slowly so that the cream does not change the consistency of the soup.

Fish and Vegetable Gazpacho

12 ounces crappie fillets,

cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cups water

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) vegetable or reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Several dashes of hot pepper sauce

1 can (10 ounces) tomatoes with

jalapeno peppers

1 cup small cucumber, chopped

1 cup small yellow summer squash or zucchini, chopped

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup green onions, sliced

Cut fillets into 1/2-inch pieces. In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil and add fish. Cover and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Drain fish, cover and chill. In a medium saucepan, combine broth, cumin, garlic powder and hot pepper sauce. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in tomatoes with jalapeno peppers, cucumber, yellow summer squash or zucchini, plum tomatoes and green onions. Cover and chill for 4 to 12 hours. Before serving, stir chilled fish into vegetable mixture. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Watermelon Gazpacho

This is a refreshing, cool soup usually made of raw vegetables and served cold, customarily with a tomato base. Its origin is the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is eaten particularly during the summer.

6 cups cubed, seeded watermelon

2 English (hothouse) cucumbers, chopped

2 red bell peppers, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup pineapple juice

20 small mint leaves

Reserve 20 small pieces of watermelon for garnish. Working in batches, place the remaining watermelon, cucumbers, red bell peppers, onion, jalapeno pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, 3 tablespoons of fresh mint, ginger, honey and pineapple juice into a blender. Blend 30 seconds per batch. The mixture should be well blended, but retain some texture. Pour into a large pitcher or bowl. Refrigerate 1 hour. Serve in bowls and garnish each with a couple of chunks of the retained watermelon and 2 small mint leaves.

Recently, Vernon Summerlin has begun publishing Kindle eBooks on Amazon. He plans to publish a short fishing book once a week. Larger books and other topics of his are in the works. You can search amazon.com and type in “Vernon Summerlin.” Please send any thoughts, requests, etc. to vsummerlin@comcast.net.