A soup lover like me1 was excited to get a copy of Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share2 the new cookbook by Kathy Gunst3, Resident Chef for NPR's "Here and Now." If the idea of hosting or attending a Soup Swap Party sounds appealing is because it is: the book provides suggestions and tips for a successful event. Rest assured, though: you don't need to be planning a party to enjoy the book. Its recipes are dedicated to soup lovers of all sizes and flavors: they include vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options—besides making meat and fish lovers happy. And to complete the soup dinner, the book includes also recipes for side dishes.
FTC disclosure: I have received an advanced reading copy of Soup Swap: Comforting Recipes to Make and Share from the publisher4. I have not and will not receive any monetary compensation for discussing it on my blog. The experience shared and the opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.
I went back and forth a number of recipes, but then settled on Joe's Summer Garden Tomato Gazpacho for two reasons.
The first time I ate gazpacho, years ago, I liked it so much I reached for a second helping. Shortly after lunch, I boarded a boat and it did not end well for my digestive system. I decided the recipe was a clear indication it was time I overcame that negative association and made my own gazpacho.
The second reason had to do with the recipe headnote. The Joe of the title is Joe Yonan, Food and Dining editor of the Washington Post. He is quoted as stating "Unless you're roasting the tomatoes to concentrate their flavor, you may have to help them taste like themselves." He goes on to suggest adding a touch of vinegar and a little honey or sugar to the tomatoes "to bring out all their goodness." Of course, I thought: slow-roasted heirloom tomatoes will make a great base for gazpacho—no sweetener required.
My recipe for slow-roasted heirloom tomatoes is from two summers ago5. The tomatoes on the photos are from this summer crop.
Since I am making soup, I reduce slightly the amount of time I slow-roast the heirloom tomatoes with respect to what I usually do.
The book arrived in time for me to make several batches of the gazpacho to adjust the recipe to my liking. In particular, I used shallot (scalogno) from my garden, roasted the pepper (peperone) and used my favorite varieties of cucumber (cetriolo). I also halved the amount of tomatoes, since I never made the recipe for a party.
- Extra-virgin olive oil in a mister
- 3 pounds / 1.35 kg ripe heirloom tomatoes, preferably organic or pesticide-free
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 medium sweet red pepper (pimento or other variety)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 10 large basil leaves
- 1 shallot (1 1/2 ounces / 42 g), chopped
- 1 small cucumber (lemon or Boothby's blonde), peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
How to slow-roast the tomatoes
Preheat oven to 250 F / 120 C.
Generously spray with olive oil a 3 qt / 3 l / 13 x 9 x 2 inch / 33 x 23 x 5 cm glass baking dish (no lid necessary).
Wash, core and slice the tomatoes and distribute them evenly in the baking dish.
Bake the tomatoes for 4 hours, stirring a few times.
Take the dish out of the oven, add the salt and stir. (If you don't particularly like tomato skin, you can retrieve the pieces that naturally detach during the baking.)
Let the tomatoes cool and use immediately or store in the refrigerator and use within a couple of days.
How to roast the pepper
For efficiency's sake, you may want to roast a few peppers, use one for the gazpacho and the rest for other recipes6.
Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C.
Place the peppers on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or aluminum foil. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the peppers 90 or 180 degrees, depending on their width.
Roast for 15 more minutes, then turn the peppers. Repeat after 10 minutes. Continue roasting until they are ready, i.e., when the skin has turned dark and is detaching in places. (The time depends on the type and size of peppers.) Put the peppers in a lidded container or paper bag to steam, then peel off skin, discard stem and seeds, and the liquid they release. Set aside one to use in the gazpacho and chop it. Set aside the others until ready to use.
How to prepare the gazpacho
Place all the ingredients for the soup in a bowl and toss. Purée with an immersion blender until almost smooth. Add some water, as needed, to make the soup reach the desired consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Gazpacho is served cold. I prefer it just cool. I also like it dense: the flavor of tomatoes goes right to my head.
The original recipe includes suggestions for garnishes, like chopped tomatoes or cucumbers or scallions. My version is minimalist.
One evening as I was preparing my version of quick parmigiana di melanzane, I ran out of my tomato sauce7 and decided to use some of my gazpacho: it worked perfectly!
My only problem is: how will I get my gazpacho fix once heirloom tomato season ends?
Check out the Soup Swap blog party page
1 My soup recipes
2 The book's page on the publisher's site
3 Kathy Gunst's website Instagram account and Soup Swap's Facebook page
4 Chronicle Books: Twitter • Facebook • Tumblr • Pinterest • Instagram
5 My post with the recipe for Slow-Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes
6 My post with the recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Almond Dip
7 One of my posts on handmade past which includes my recipe for Tomato Sauce
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the gazpacho di pomodori semisecchi audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
FTC disclosure: I have received the linen free of charge from the manufacturer (la FABBRICA del LINO). In conjunction with this event I have received a Stainless Steel Ladle and Stainless Steel Slotted Serving Spoon from Zeroll, and ProntoPro™ Diamond Hone® Knife Sharpener from Chef’sChoice. I have not and will not receive any monetary compensation for presenting these items on my blog. The experience shared and the opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. The stainless steel ladle and serving spoon are an elegant addition to my kitchen and table. The knife sharpener is precious: small and easy to use and clean, it's quickly become indispensable.