Sep 24 2010

Summer Soup

Published by at 11:08 am under Lunch,Starters

Gazpacho has been calling my name this season. First it was the Late Summer Tomato Soup in my Frank Stitt cookbook, Frank Stitt’s Southern Table. Then it was reading other bloggers’ chilled soup experiments, like this one at EatLiveRun. The last straw was the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated, featuring their Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz, which finally made me give in and try it myself.

Even though no cooking is actually involved in the recipe, don’t be fooled: It still takes over an hour to prepare and has to chill overnight for the flavors to mesh. If you’re interested in making it, decide the day before you actually want to eat it. Other than that, the process was largely hassle-free and very rewarding, because this soup has been sitting in my fridge for 2 days now, tasting better and better each time.

I used Early Girl tomatoes for this recipe, because they were the ones that looked best at the farmer’s market. Any red, plump tomatoes would work, though, as long as they’re ripe and sweet. Even “juicy” is an appropriate word here, because you’re literally relying on the juice for the soup base.

I like to serve this gazpacho garnished with a little basil and with a hunk of French baguette on the side. In fact, I have a confession to make: I haven’t shared any of it. Almost a full week’s worth of lunch just for me — and I’m not the least bit sorry.

Early Girl Gazpacho

Adapted from the Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz in Cook’s Illustrated, July & August 2010

Ingredients (Serves 4):

10 medium Early Girl tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled

1 bell pepper (any color you like — I chose orange)

1 red onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small green chili pepper

2 tsp. salt, divided

1 hunk French baguette (about 6 inches long), crust removed and torn into small pieces

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Fresh basil for garnish

Chop 7 tomatoes, half of the cucumber (seeds removed), half the bell pepper, half the onion and half the chili pepper into a small dice. Add the minced garlic. Place in a large bowl and add 1 tsp. salt. Toss well to combine. Transfer chopped vegetables to a strainer set over a large bowl, and set aside for one hour.

Chop the rest of the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and chili pepper into a small dice. Add 2 tsp. of salt, toss to distribute, and set aside.

Transfer the drained diced vegetables to a large bowl and set aside. Submerge the bread chunks into the exuded liquid from the vegetables and soak for 1 minute. Add soaked bread and remaining liquid to chopped vegetables. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor (as I used) and process for 30 seconds. With the processor running, drizzle in 1/4 cup of the olive oil and blend until smooth (1 to 2 minutes).

Add the rest of the vegetable and bread mixture to the processor and repeat: blend for 30 seconds, then keep blending as you drizzle in the remaining olive oil. Strain soup through a strainer into a large bowl, using a spoon or your fingers to work the mixture through the strainer.

Stir in vinegar and the rest of the diced vegetables with the soup, and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate overnight. Serve garnished with chopped basil.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Summer Soup”

  1. Jeannaon 24 Sep 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I see you advanced?! Congrats! How many “advancements” will be held and how many have been advanced so far?

    Signed,
    Question Lady

  2. Livon 24 Sep 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I did, thank you!! There are 10 challenges total, so now I’m on to the second one. I’ll be posting it this weekend!