Chilled Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Soup

Chilled Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper SoupBlended Summer
I am not a fan of hot weather. I am okay with warm weather which in my world means anywhere from 70 to 85. Anything above that is, as my daughter would say, so gross. And I don’t subscribe to the “At least it’s a dry heat” notion. Hot is hot. Though, I admit, hot with humidity is just…I can’t. I’ve experienced some of the worst heat and humidity this world has to offer from Atlanta in July to Mumbai at any time and I will tell you straight up no way can I live in that environment.

Heat can be a good thing. For example, the recent hot days we have been enjoying and the somewhat cooler nights mean that my tomatoes are literally ripening overnight. The flip side of that is we’re having a hard time keeping up. And there might be some tomato fatigue as far as what sounds good for dinner.

So, as a way to use a bunch of tomatoes at once as well as have something tasty yet cold for a light lunch or even just a mid-afternoon snack, I made this gazpacho from one of my favorite cookbooks, Curate by Katie Button. I like this particular recipe for Chilled Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Soup because it is smooth. Some gazpachos are a bit chunky which I find difficult to drink. Also, the soup uses the other veggies in my garden. It pairs well with a side salad for lunch or works as an appetizer before dinner. It’s also great for the beach. Just keep it cold in the cooler.

Chilled Tomato, Cucumber, and Pepper Soup Recipe
Yields 6 to 8 servings
Adapted from Curate by Katie Button

1 large red bell pepper
1 large English cucumber
2 pounds super-ripe tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cubed baguette
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons dry sherry wine
Kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Assemble your ingredients
Remove the seeds and ribs of the bell pepper and dice it into big chunks. Peel and dice the cucumber. Core and dice the tomatoes and mince the garlic. Remove the crust from the baguette and cut it into 1-1/2 inch cubes.

Puree the soup
You will need to work in batches to puree this soup. In the first batch, combine one-third of the pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic, bread, vinegar, wine, and 1 teaspoon salt with 1/2 cup water in a blender. Puree the vegetables, gradually raising the speed from low to high. With the machine running, add one-third of the oil in a steady stream and puree until totally smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher.

Repeat with the remaining vegetables, in two more batches. Pour the three batches into a large jar or pitcher and stir to combine. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt to taste or add more water for the right consistency. It should be easy to drink.

Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight to give the flavors time to develop.

Stir well and serve very cold.

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