A bowl of delicious chilled soup is the perfect answer to the dog days of summer. The sauteing can be done in the cool hours of the morning, keeping the kitchen comfortable in the heat of the afternoon. Refrigerate until meal time.
In a large soup pot, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, Saute 2 finely chopped medium-size leeks that have been throroughly rinsed of sandy deposits for 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Add 6 yellow summer squash, thinly sliced, and saute for another 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add 2 cloves minced garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes to keep the garlic from turning bitter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add 4-cups chicken or vegetable stock. Cook the soup,covered, for about 15 minutes,or until the squash is tender. Process the soup with a hand blender in the pot or in the blender until pureed. Pour into a bowl. Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours.
Right before serving, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives and 1-cup buttermilk. Season to taste with more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Chilled soups usually need more seasoning, because the chilling process reduces the flavor. You always can add more liquid to re-create the proper texture and thickness.
To serve, ladle into soup bowls abd garnish with additional finely shredded basil, about 2 tablespoons. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
When selecting the ingredients, keep in mind that other summer squash, such as zucchini or crookneck, or, a combination of all three can be substituted. Use medium-size squash, as large ones can be bitter. To check for bitterness, saute a single slice and see whether it has a bitter aftertaste
Experiment with additional garnishes, too. Try croutons flavored with parmesan cheese, basil or sun-dried tomato pesto, fresh tomato salsa or any or various garden herbs such as chives, mint or parsley.