Thursday, September 16, 2010

Glorious Green Gazpacho

One of my favorite summer dishes is gazpacho, but it should only be attempted with the most flavorful of tomatoes at the peak of their season. Earlier this summer, when visiting my sister in Chicago, I had a quite tasty and very elaborate gazpacho at a neighborhood restaurant. It involved all sorts of components, including a tomato foam, that I could never imagine recreating, but I was inspired by the soup's contrasted textures. The rainbow of heirloom tomatoes at the Lonesome Whistle Farm stand last Sunday was also inspirational, and I decided to create a gazpacho that contrasted the different colors and flavors of the season's best tomatoes.

For the soup itself, I combined a bright and flavorful chartreuse heirloom called Tasty Evergreen, along with a handful of sweet yellow cherry tomatoes, and several basil leaves, and blended these into a smooth green liquid. For a textured accompaniment to the soup, I paired the deep, rich flavor and color of some heirloom Brandywines and a few purple cherry tomatoes with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and diced cucumbers for some crunch.  

To serve the soup, I placed a few spoonfuls of the diced Brandywines and cucumbers in the center of a soup bowl and then carefully poured the Tasty Evergreen puree around it. The contrasting colors were lovely and the contrasting flavors of heirloom tomatoes were a delight to savor.

Green Tomato Gazpacho with Red Tomato Garnish

For the soup
2 large Tasty Evergreen heirloom tomatoes
8 yellow cherry tomatoes
8 basil leaves

Blend together until smooth.

For the garnish
1 large Brandywine tomato, finely diced
4 purple cherry tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely diced
1 Tbsp good balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the ingredients for the garnish. 

To served, place about two large spoonfuls of the garnish in the center of a flat soup dish. Then carefully pour the blended tomatoes around the garnish. Enjoy at once. Serves four as an appetizer.

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