The Commercial Appeal
Chilled pear soup doesn’t require much preparation before serving
Last weekend, I hosted an “Evening in Paris” dinner party for 12 that we had donated to our church school auction.
We started with assorted canapés, accompanied by Lillet Blanc, a French aperitif, with a slice of orange and a splash of soda. This gave folks a chance to mingle and chat before being seated.
The first seated course was a chilled soup. Many years ago, when I fi rst started going to France, chilled soups weren’t all that common in France except perhaps along the Mediterranean or near Spain, where gazpacho might have made it onto the menu.
But now, with all the ambitious new young chefs making the Parisian scene, it’s not at all unusual to see chilled soup on a summer menu.
The obvious advantage to a chilled soup is that it can be made ahead. In fact, it must be made ahead to allow it to chill and for the flavors to develop. Another advantage to this one, Chilled Pear Cardamom Soup, is that there’s very little preparation involved, since we’re using canned pears. If you prefer to use fresh pears, make sure they’re ripe, and poach five or six in water with a little sugar. A little splash of white wine in the poaching liquid wouldn’t hurt either.
I like to garnish this with snipped chives and a few crumbles of blue cheese. While Roquefort would be a nice match to the flavors in the soup, it’s become enormously expensive. You can quite nicely substitute another crumbly blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola or Maytag.
For the wine pairing, we served an Alsatian white blend, Hugel Gentil. It was the perfect match.