August 18, 2009

Hot Summer, Cold Soup

Warm Summer, Cold Soup

There are a lot of tomatoes in our house. It’s a case of heirloom tomato fever. Combine that with our warm summer and it’s only fitting to chop up a large bowlful of gazpacho. Gazpacho can be magical. It’s a Spanish salad-like soup, or a soupy salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onion, garlic, salt and vinegar. And a little fresh black pepper. It doesn’t sound like much, now that I’ve written down the ingredients. But when the ingredients are the best that you can get and at their seasonal peak, it’s a whole lot of savoury, healthy goodness. Make it to your taste, this is more of a guideline than a recipe, and it’s beyond easy. This is a great dish to make when there’s all those tomatoes loitering on your counter*. You don’t even need to turn your stove on.

Serves 4 – 6

about 5 or 6 medium tomatoes, chopped, and several little sungolds or other cherry-sized tomatoes, halved, if you have them

one medium cucumber, peeled if you like, and diced

one sweet pepper, bell or Hungarian, any colour, seeded and chopped

half or more sweet onion, I used a Walla Walla

2 cloves of garlic, super finely minced

a couple of splashes of balsamic vinegar, or to taste

a good swirl of extra virgin olive oil, for flavour and richness

a few pinches of sea salt, to taste

some twists of fresh black pepper

Combine everything in a large bowl and stir. Put the entire bowl in the fridge. As the gazpacho chills out, the juices from the ripe vegetables begin to mix and mingle and create their own flavourful broth. Taste for seasoning – you might like to add another pinch of sea salt, or an extra splash of vinegar. Serve really cold. Gazpacho is sometimes pureed. You could try that if you don’t feel much like chopping.

* It’s important not to store your tomatoes in the fridge when you get them home from the market. On the counter, out of direct sunlight is preferable for whole, uncut tomatoes. The Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst states that “They should never be refrigerated – cold temperatures make the flesh pulpy and kills the flavour.”


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