Recipe Roundup: Cold Soups

Six recipes for the lazy summer cook

To everything there is a season, and the season for chilled soups is right now.

Not only are these soups precisely the kind of refreshment required during the dead of summer, they are shockingly simple to make. If you can flip the switch on a blender, you can make superb soup.

Gazpacho may be the most well-known example of this genre. We like the classic version, with a base of superripe tomatoes, cucumber and peppers; on the suggestion of Rebecca Meeker, chef de cuisine at Austin's Congress, we'll now be topping ours with fresh ricotta.

But gazpacho is nothing if not adaptable. Swap watermelon for the tomatoes, as chef Jason Fox of Commonwealth in San Francisco suggests, or ditch the tomatoes altogether and make a white version with a delicate base of green grapes and cucumber, thickened with marcona almonds.

Cucumber is a fine foundation for a chilled summer soup, whether flying solo in a tangy buttermilk-bolstered recipe or paired with rich avocado. And should you prefer a French approach, our recipe for vichyssoise, a creamy potato soup, fits the bill.

This classic gazpacho recipe from Rebecca Meeker, chef de cuisine of Congress in Austin, Texas, is made with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, and topped with a scoop of ricotta and garlicky croutons.

Commonwealth chef Jason Fox's gazpacho swaps watermelon for the tomatoes in this refreshing riff on a classic.

Made with green grapes, cucumbers and marcona almonds, this white gazpacho is an elegant way to begin a Spanish-style dinner.

Test the phrase "cool as a cucumber" by serving this refreshing, tangy cucumber-and-buttermilk soup.

The Spanish aren't the only ones who have mastered cold soups. French vichyssoise, made with potatoes and leeks, is a sophisticated way to beat the heat.