Ad Hoc Gazpacho with Yellow Tomatoes

Summer is just around the corner and I’m getting impatient. So impatient that I wore my new sandals all day Saturday and then got caught in a torrential downpour that night only to get even sicker than I already was. Thus…I needed to make soup. I’m over hot soup…that’s for the February duldrums. Naturally the ideal choice was gazpacho. Last week while perusing my roommate’s copy of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook, I came across a recipe for a creamy yellow tomato gazpacho that looked easy enough. I’m a fan of the classical chunky tomatoes, cucumber and tomato juice route, but thought creamy and sweet sounded appealing.

And appealing it was. Velvety would be an understatement when describing the texture. Sweet but with a hint of sharp garlic and vinegar wouldn’t do justice to the complex, almost almond-like flavor. Perfect would describe this chilled soup best I think. Thomas Keller’s recipe called for piment d’Espelette which I didn’t have so I substitutded paprika. It also calls for a garnish of red pepper and chives, but to be honest…I would just serve as-is. Keller uses “Sun Gold” tomatoes which he claims are yellow. Whole foods had these lovely orange cherry tomatoes from Mexico that were just delicious.

I always struggle with updating this blog because I like to post beautiful pictures, not just flashy, light streaked snap shots. The key to beautiful food photography is natural light and lots of it. So, up top you’ll find a beautiful photo I look last summer of some cherry tomatoes and below you will find a lack-luster iphone snap shop of the gorgeous gazpacho I made last night.

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

(makes bout 4 servings)

(recipe adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home)

1 cup cold water

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed and peeled

1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion

2 pints orange or yellow tomatoes

2 Persian cucumbers (trader joes always has them)

1 large yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/8 tsp paprika

kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Reserve 3 or 4 tomatoes to chop up and add as garnish and steam the rest of the tomatoes over 2 inches of boiling water for 8-10 minutes. They should just begin to pop at this point. Set aside and let them cool or gently run under cold water if you are in a hurry.

2. Put the cold water, onion, garlic and tomatoes in a large bowl.

3. Peel the cucumbers and cut into small pieces and add to the bowl, do the same with the yellow pepper. Toss gently and let the mixture marinate for 5-10 minutes.

4. Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.

5. IMPORTANT: Strain this mixture through a sieve to get out all the chunky bits. Usually I skip steps like this because I’m lazy, but you must must do this…this is why the soup is so velvety.

6. Put the strained liquid back in the blender and add ½ cup of olive oil, a dash of sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar, salt and finely ground pepper. Blend for 30 seconds or so. You can chill the whole blender pitcher in the fridge while the soup cools. It needs at least 90 minutes, but is even better the next day. Garnish with the reserved tomato halves.

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