Thursday, July 24, 2014


I figured that now the weather is nice and hot, people would like a typical summer meal. I love this soup for dinner but it also works great for all those summer barbecue engagements. It travels well and doesn't need to be heated up!

This is a tried and true recipe from Alton Brown which I've made a bunch of times with great results.

(from here)

1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 to 1 cup tomato juice (will vary depending on tomatoes, supplement with the bottled variety)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (can sub balsamic)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade


We're going to start with a concasse of tomato. This is a fancy term for peeling, seeding, and dicing tomatoes. 

I've detailed this process before in my Spaghetti all'Amatriciana recipe (which is one of my absolute favorites, btw).

We're going to start by getting a pot of water on the boil. No need to salt the water.

Weigh out a pound and a half of tomatoes. I like Romas for this, but any tomatoes you have will work. 

The ingredients are very simple, just require a bit of knife work.

Start by coring the tomatoes.

Then cut a shallow "X" in the bottom. 

Drop the tomatoes in the boiling water, three at a time or so.

Boil for 20-30 seconds. I actually go toward the 30 second mark, normally.

Evacuate to an ice bath.

Repeat for the rest of the tomatoes.

When cool, peel thusly:

Then cut in half:

Scoop out the innards with a tablespoon or by hand. 

Save the innards in a sieve over a bowl. You'll get a lot of liquid from them.


Repeat the steps for the rest of the tomatoes.

Lots of innards.

Put the tomatoes in a big resealable container:

Squeeze all the juice you can from the tomatoes.

I had just under half a cup! Way more than I thought I'd get.

Fill up the cup with store bought tomato juice.

Pour it into the tomatoes.

Next, peel a cucumber.

Cut in half. I also trim the ends.

Seed it with a teaspoon.

Dice the same size as the tomatoes.

Everything we cut will try to be the same size, btw.

Toss it in.

Red bell pepper.




(I ended up using the whole thing.)

Toss it in.

Only going to use half a red onion.


 Toss it in.

One jalapeño. It's not going to add very much heat, but good flavor. Even if you're heat sensitive, I suggest not skipping this.


Seeded. Wear gloves if you're sensitive.



Smash it.

Mince it.

Toss it in.


Whew. Done with the knife work.

Now for the seasoning ingredients.

I actually toasted and ground my cumin. You can use ground cumin, but it really tastes different from the seed.

Give it a try, it's not that much more work.

If you've gone this far, go all the way.

Toss the cumin seeds in a hot pan and toast until you can smell it toasting.

You'll be able to tell.

Toss it into a coffee grinder used for spices only.

Very cheap and well worth having on hand.

I made more than I needed.

Measure out 1/2 tsp.

Toss it in along with the other ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (can sub balsamic)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Make sure the olive oil is good and the vinegar is good since this is raw there's no covering it up. 

Give it a good stir.

Transfer 1/2 cup to a blender.

Blend well.

Pour it back in:

Stir well to recombine.

Now we wait. This is much better the next day, so do it beforehand.

The next day:

Looks pretty much the same but all the flavors have married well.


I also made some bread with garlic oil. 

1/4 cup or so of olive oil and teaspoon of grated garlic.

1/2 teaspoon crushed chili flakes.

Stir it up.

Bread at the ready.

I experimented and painted some with the olive oil and left some plain to dip with.

Broil until toasted on each side.


We'll finish with a chiffonade of fresh basil.

Stack your leaves.

Roll them up.

Slice thinly.

Boom. Chiffonade. Fancy.

Sprinkle the basil over top and serve with bread and spicy garlic olive oil.


This is a great summer soup. It's got an incredible flavor from the good olive oil and vinegar and the fresh vegetables really shine through. Getting a nice bite soaked up in the garlic bread is divine. If you like it a bit spicier, a shot of Sriracha is a great addition.


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