Piedmontese Soup Recipe
Ice-Green Pepper Soup
for an Italian Summer Supper
On these hot sultry evenings we’ve been having I was longing for something cool and refreshing to have for supper – I couldn’t bear the thought of sweating over a hot stove. Well they do say ‘necessity is the mother of invention’….although perhaps not invention in this case, but it certainly prompted the welcome idea and image of an ice-cold chilled soup. One that required no cooking – a silky soft soup that, like ice cream, would slide coolly down my throat.
Traditionally cold soups have never been part of the Italian diet – it’s only relatively recently that even the Spanish-based gazpacho has started appearing regularly on menus. There is apparently a Sicilian tomato cold soup called “salamureci” – which sounds delicious but I haven’t tried it yet. So, apart from these two, there seems to be very little else in the cold soup department. I find it surprising in such a hot country as Italy, particularly as in colder England they seem to feature much more!
Peppers however feature greatly in Italy and especially in Piedmont where they are standard fare in homes and on any gastronomic menu in the region – usually paired with tomatoes or anchovies or both, and equally delicious roasted ‘sott’olio’ or pickled as ‘peperonata’ to accompany meats or cheeses.
The famous annual ‘Sagra del Peperone’ in Carmagnola, just south of Torino, takes place in early September and the town will be full to bursting of ‘bancarelle’ (or stalls) piled high with shining colourful peppers – red, green, yellow and orange all colours of the…..well not exactly the rainbow, but perhaps more in the range of ‘semafori’ or traffic lights!
I wanted to take advantage of the abundance of these glorious peppers as well as avoiding any cooking, so I decided to make a quick and easy cold soup by blending raw green peppers with other summer vegetables from the Piedmontese ‘orto’ or vegetable gardens. Here I’ve added cucumber, celery and green onions to the peppers to make a healthy soup packed with silicon, potassium and other vitamins and minerals.
I’m a great raw food eater – I particularly love eating fish Japanese-style as sushi or sashimi and I also occasionally enjoy the Piemontese chopped raw ‘fasone’ steak known as ‘carne cruda’. However, raw vegetables and fruits remain my favourites.
Foods in their natural raw state contain vital enzymes which give us energy. Our bodies can’t create these enzymes, nor can they be processed for use as supplements, plus they are destroyed when cooked at high temperatures. So, to make sure we get plenty of enzymes, or energy, we need to eat loads of raw foods such as vegetables, fruits and seeds.
Try this refreshing green pepper soup and see how easy it is to load up with enzymes and energy!
Piedmontese Soup Recipe:
Iced-green Pepper Soup – Serves 4
2 green peppers, seeded & chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled & chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1 cup yoghurt, half Greek yoghurt half other
½ cup olive oil
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Red & yellow pepper for decoration
Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy – add more yoghurt or water if you want to thin it slightly. Chill in fridge.
Serve scattered with finely-chopped red & yellow pepper.
About the Writer:
Faustina is English but, for the past 8 years, has been living in Italy. The first couple of years in the Alta Langhe, Piemonte and is now based in Albino near Bergamo. She is the author of “The Little Canadian Cookbook” and wrote for about 6 years for a daily Canadian CBC Television cooking show in Vancouver. Whilst living in South Africa she was assistant manageress of an African restaurant in Capetown as well as writing a pilot TV programme on African food. In London she did private catering and event organising as well as working for the media and independent Film & TV producers.
Faustina moved to Italy to be with her partner, Fiorenzo, and they now have a Feldenkrais, Floating and Food Therapy Centre: www.spaziof.org
She continues her love of food and research by exploring all the wonderful places and products here in Northern Italy; She is a member of Slow Food Italia and teaches seminars on healthy eating and juicing, as well as writing her food/health blogwww.eatingcloudsinitaly.com