Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chilled Tomato Celebration Soup

The heirloom tomatoes from our CSA have been rocking my world. Many people pass on by the "ugly" organic heirloom tomatoes in the sumarket, if the store even sells them. They're easy finds at most farmer's markets, though. They come in a wide array of colors, sizes and textures, but are often somewhat imperfect in appearance. Trust me-- these are often the best ones, taste-wise. Just pick one up and feel its heft, which is a hint to its juiciness. All these Cinderella fruits need is the right nudge from us, their fairy godmothers (of course, sparkly shoes never hurt, but that's another story). If you find a type you like, hang on to a few of the seeds and ferment them to grow your own next season!

Brandywine heirloom tomatoes-- this variety is particularly tasty.

I wanted to do something to celebrate their deliciousness, without cooking and losing that freshness. I decided on chilled soup. I love gazpacho, but modified that to really focus on the tomato, leaving out the spicier notes. I also gave the bread a miss, so added a few other vegetables and olive oil to cut the acidity. I blended half the tomatoes and left the rest in noticeable, sweet chunks.

Chilled Tomato Celebration Soup (serves 4)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small cucumber,diced
  • 1 small turnip (I used 1 pink turnip)
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1/2 spring onion (or 4 scallions, whites only), chopped
  • basil (approx 8 leaves)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbl. olive oil (optional)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Additional basil & Greek yogurt or olive oil, for garnish
Place half of the chopped tomatoes to a large colander and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, stirring to evenly distribute the salt. Let drain over a large bowl for approx. 30 minutes to catch the juices. This step is optional, but yields slightly more firm pieces and helps prevent mushiness. Periodically, give the colander a gentle shake to make sure the juices are draining properly.

Pour the juice into a blender and add the other half the tomatoes, turnip, onion, basil, lemon juice and olive oil (if using). Blend until smooth and pour into a large bowl. Add remaining tomato and season with salt & pepper. Garnish with basil & yogurt or olive oil.


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