Standing at the kitchen counter earlier this week, I let out this relaxed shudder while chopping away at tomatoes. Twisting each tomato off the vine and smelling that wafting smell - you know which one I'm talking about. The smell of summer that lives between the stem and the fruit of a tomato. It's clean and familiar and homey and so...specific. It's my sign that the season is here and we're living in summer's cornucopia. I've been waiting to be able to make gazpacho - in some form - and this was truly a moment for me.
After the hectic month of work and travel I've been through, I've been seeking out my gazpacho in restaurants and take out containers. I've just not had the fortitude to chop every vegetable on earth, whether I know it's worth it in the end or not. Having two of my favorite girlfriends over for dinner was reason enough to pull down the Vitamix (off a top shelf, mind you) and let it do some of the work on this lovely cold tomato soup. I found the inspiration for this back in winter and have held onto it. It's a great year-round cold soup recipe because the tomato paste helps prop up sub-par tomatoes. In the summer, it adds a smoothness and sweetness to already-wonderful fruit that is just divine.
You can garnish this however you'd like - some croutons, chopped herbs, a drizzle of seasoned oil - but I recommend this whipped cream. The marriage of two of my favorite things - gazpacho and green goddess dressing - is brilliant, herby and fresh...and the silky texture is so refreshing. I've used the Vitamix here to make both components - you can whiz together whipped cream in about 10 seconds. Even if you have to use a blender and a mixer or whisk, this is well worth the time...as little as that is. The complexity of flavors you'll get far outweighs the input so just inhale and enjoy.
Chilled Tomato Soup with Green Goddess Whipped Cream - serves 6 as a soup course - adapted from this recipe on Food & Wine
- 5 pounds ripe red tomatoes - de-seeded and roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp. fruity extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. celery salt
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup loose packed assorted herbs - I used chives, basil, tarragon and oregano
- kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- For the whipped cream: In your Vitamix or blender, add the loose herbs. You can roughly chop them beforehand if you feel your blender isn't up to the task. Pour in the cream and whip until it's lightly foamy - you're not looking for stiff peaks but you're looking for a slightly firm texture. Gently scrape down sides of blender and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.
- For the soup: If you're using a Vitamix, you can pretty much throw your tomatoes in there and whiz them up in one batch. In a blender or food processor, this will take at least 2 batches. Combine your seeded & chopped tomatoes, olive oil, tomato paste, water, vegetable broth, lemon juice and water. Pureé until very smooth and incorporated. Taste as you go and add kosher salt & pepper, as needed. I would go light on that because the flavors will mingle & change in the fridge. You can always re-season before you serve. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours
- To serve: Take soup and whipped cream out of the fridge. Taste your soup and re-season if necessary. While you're ladling the soup into bowls, the whipped cream will soften slightly. Stir it with a spoon or small whisk until you have an airy, loose cream. Drizzle the cream on top of the soup and serve immediately.