It’s been crazy hot in our land-locked country in the past few days. Since I have an ideological objection to swimming in any water that is not the Adriatic sea, I have to resort to cooling myself from within. Enter gazpacho.
I am normally not a fan of cold soups, but after a morning spent roaming around the city in the heat, I thought a could tomato soup would hit the spot. As many times before, I was right. As many times before, the boyfriend remained set in his ways, regardless of the 35 degrees outside and regardless of the fact that he painstakingly peeled and seeded the tomatoes.
I found the base recipe at the Food network, and modified it such that I blitzed the whole soup, apart from a few tomato pieces; I reduced the amount of chilli; I most likely changed the ratios of ingredients as I have trouble interpreting the volumetric measures; I omitted the lime, as the store I went to did not have any limes; and I replaced the tomato juice with passata that I passed through a sieve because—you guessed it—the store I went to did not have any tomato juice.
I had the soup on the first day with some ice, as I was too hungry to wait for the designated two hours for it to chill. It was delicious also the next day, cold from the fridge, with a few dashes of Tabasco sauce.
tomato juice or passata, strained
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 chopped red bell pepper
2 spring onions
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced, apparently optional
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1. Prepare the tomatoes. Make an X with a paring knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Pour boiling water from a kettle over the tomatoes and leave for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool until able to handle, approximately 1 minute. Remove and pat dry. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through as possible and then add enough bottled tomato juice to bring the total to 1 cup.
2. Leave a few tomato pieces on the side and chop them. Put the remaining ingredients, apart from the basil, in a blender and process until smooth.
3. Transfer to a bowl, add the chopped tomato pieces, cover, and chill for 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve with chiffonade of basil.