Sunday, September 5, 2010

Yellow tomato gazpacho

Our CSA (community supported agriculture coop) requires members to volunteer one shift each season, to either set up or clean up after everything is finished. The volunteers who work the clean up shift get to take what they want from the produce that is left. I try to time my shift to coincide with peak tomato season. The problem is that by the end of the evening, what is left can be more than a bit bruised. We had some great heirloom tomatoes, but all the red varieties were gone or in sad shape by the end of the night. However, I did get to take home a good quantity of slightly bruised yellow heirloom tomatoes. I think that the variety was "yellow queen" which is a light yellow, almost cream color and sometimes has a slight blush. They are low in acid but still had a rich tomato flavor. They were so delicate that they had practically turned to gazpacho by the time that I got them home, so here is what I did with them:

Yellow tomato gazpacho

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled (1 more if you want, but the croutons will add more garlic flavor)
  • 1.5 to 2 pounds yellow tomatoes ( trim off the mushy bits if you want)
  • 3-4 ounces day old bread, crusts removed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup chopped English or Persian cucumbers, peeled if desired
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 recipe croutons (see the recipe for white almond gazpacho I posted last month)

  1. With the motor running, drop the garlic through the opening of a blender (or feeder tube of a food processor) which will pulverize it. This is actually fun, and you may be tempted to use too much garlic. Don't.
  2. Add the tomatoes and blend to a puree.
  3. Run the bread briefly under water, squeeze dry, add the bread to the blender and puree some more.
  4. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil, one tablespoon of the vinegar and about 1 teaspoon or regular or 2 teaspoons of coarse salt.
  5. Shut the motor, taste for seasoning, and add more salt and vinegar if you want, and run the blender briefly to incorporate.
  6. Push the soup through a sieve, pressing so that it all passes through. This will vastly improve the texture of the final soup.
  7. Chill well, for a few hours or overnight.
  8. Serve in small soup bowls and pass cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and croutons for garnish.

Additions: This soup has a wonderful, pure tomato flavor. You can add parsley, cilantro or some jalapeno pepper if you want, but why?

The bread: People think gazpacho is about the tomatoes, but it is really about the bread. I once read that it comes from the Arabic for "bread and vinegar" and the first syllable sounds like khubz, Arabic for bread. I haven't been able to verify this but it has the ring of truth. Spaniards still serve white gazpacho, often with almonds, where the bread is even more central. I find that bread mellows out the flavors, particularly of the garlic and vinegar and lets the tomato shine through. Without the bread, it is far to acid and the garlic rapidly takes on an off flavor. If you have never made gazpacho with bread before, try it. It will be a revelation. It is important to use a non-sweet loaf that is not sourdough. A peasant-style white loaf, french bread, or ciabatta works best.

The vinegar: The flavor and color will change subtly with the kind of vinegar you use. I love the flavor of sherry vinegar in this dish, but you could easily use white wine, champagne, or red wine vinegar. Rice vinegar is probably too mild for yellow tomatoes. Don't even think of using balsamic.

No comments:

Post a Comment