Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Harald's Cold Summer Soup

With the thermometer in my kitchen never dipping below 35C this week, turning on my oven was not an option. My commercial Garland range is already putting out enough heat, it runs with pilot lights so it helps maintain the warmth in my kitchen. With the heat and the humidity I don't really want to eat, preferring to take my calories in liquid form, let alone cook. My husband came to the rescue and made his version of gazpacho.

He adapted this recipe from somewhere, I'd like to give credit, but the recipe has been rewritten and copied so many times we no longer remember. He has also made enough changes to call it his own.

First roast 3 large red bell peppers on the barbecue until they are well blackened, patience is a virtue here. Place them in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap and leave to cool. The steam created in the bowl will make the skins come off more easily.

Then you need about 1 kg of ripe tomatoes, peeled. I allowed him to boil some water in my scorching kitchen to blanch the tomatoes and remove their skins. He'd skip this step if he could, but I insist on it and the soup is better. I'd also seed the tomatoes, but he chops them up seeds and all and since he's making it.....

Once the peppers are cool enough to handle remove the skins and discard. Cut open the peppers and remove and discard the seeds. This is a messy business, but don't resort to rinsing them under the tap or you'll wash the flavour down the sink. Add them to the tomatoes with all their juice.

Blend the tomatoes and peppers in batches and place the mixture in a large bowl add 2 large cloves of garlic and 4 green onions finely chopped then a small cucumber peeled and diced. Stir everything together and add 60ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 75ml of extra virgin olive oil. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a little more lemon juice if you want. Remember as the soup is served cold it must be well seasoned.


You'll notice that the pectin in the liquid from the red peppers will make the soup "set" in the refrigerator, so no need for bread in this mix.  Take the soup out and let it warm up a little and just before serving stir in about 1/2 cup of mixed herbs, chopped. We pick whatever is in the garden, mint, parsley, tarragon, marjoram, thyme, the choice is yours.

The original says it serves 4, that's rubbish. It's a substantial soup and will serve 6 easily.

It is really hardly even a gazpacho anymore so I'm renaming it Haralds's Cold Summer Soup.

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