Late Summer Gazpacho
- 1kg large ripe tomatoes, peeled and de-seeded
- 4 shallots
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 slices white bread
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ripe red capsicums
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or sherry or 1/4 cup unfermented cab-sav verjuice
- 3 red chillis
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
- 1/2 firm avocado, finely diced
- 1 small Lebanese cucumber, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1/4 cup small croutons
Make a cross on the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife and drop them into a saucepan of boiling water for 30 seconds or until the skin begins to peel away where it has been cut. Plunge into ice-water and then peel. Quarter each tomato, remove the core and discard the seeds.
In a food processor whiz together the shallots, garlic, white bread, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the prepared tomatoes and pulse to a pulp. Spoon into a container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, roast the capsicums until blackened in a preheated 200°C oven. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to steam off the skins. When cool, peel and discard the skin, seeds and core.
Before finishing the soup prepare the extras. I make a chilli oil by boiling sliced chillis in grapeseed oil. Everything else is standard and interchangeable - either serve alongside or on top of each soup..
To finish the soup, place the capsicum in the blender, add the frozen pulp and whiz together. Add your choice of vinegar, sherry or verjuice. Blend in enough cold water until the correct consistency is reached. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve with prepared extras.
Preparation time 1 hour
Freezing time 4 hours or overnight
You can prepare the frozen pulp in advance and store in the freezer for about a month without it losing too much of its flavour. This may seem a strange recipe as it uses the freezer instead of the oven. However I read on a science blog that freezing tomatoes blows their cells apart and makes them spongy (through expansion). This spongyness helps to marry all the flavours together. I like the way it is ridiculously cold when served, like a savoury margarita.