In the midst of summer heat, time seems to become lazy – it stretches and yawns, while the white sun works after-hours and hangs high on the horizon until late in the evening. All of a sudden, we grow a need for afternoon naps, bottles of sunscreen, and glasses upon glasses of chilled rooibos. Summer appetites also differ from colder weather cravings – we want less comfort food, and more fresh, adventurous flavours. This soup is undoubtedly the dish for such heat. It’s incredibly refreshing and full of taste. I’m always on the lookout for different ideas for gazpacho, and mint is what makes the flavours in this one especially interesting and layered. I also like to make raw Spicy Herb Crackers to accompany the soup.
This recipe (from an old issue of Food&Wine) calls for green zebra tomatoes – a beautiful variety of heirloom tomatoes. Unfortunately I’ve never encountered them here in Florida. Instead, I chose to use organic plum tomatoes and tomatillos, which make a great pair.
2 lb tomatoes (half and half plum tomatoes and tomatillos) – coarsely chopped, plus 1 tomato for garnish
1 unpeeled seedless cucumber – coarsely chopped, and some for garnish
1 medium sweet onion – coarsely chopped
1 Hass avocado – peeled and pitted
1 small jalapeno – seeded
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup purified water
a small handful of mint leaves (plus some for garnish)
a small handful of cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil (plus some for drizzling)
Salt and pepper to taste
Using a food processor, combine half each of the tomatoes-tomatillos, cucumber, and onion with the avocado, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, and 1 cup purified water. Blend until smooth and transfer to a bowl. Put the remaining tomatoes-tomatillos, cucumber, and onion into a food processor, along with the mint, cilantro, and olive oil and pulse to make a chunky puree. Add the puree to the blended mass, salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish the gazpacho with mint leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and any other ingredients you put away for dollup.
Enjoy on a hot summer day!
Spicy herb cracker recipe here.