This recipe is provided by multi James Beard Award nominee and Food Network’s Extreme Chef Anthony Lamas and James Beard Award nominee food and travel writer Gwen Pratesi from their newest cookbook SOUTHERN HEAT. Learn more about Chef Anthony Lamas on his Chef’s Roll profile.
This soup is best made with local and beautifully ripe heirloom tomatoes. Farmer Brooke Eckmann at Ambrosia Farm in Finchville, Kentucky (read more about Brooke on pp. 182–183), grows over 82 varieties of heirloom tomatoes that taste just like the ones I grew up with as a boy. Her tomatoes are grown with a genuine love of the land, and each variety is unique in its heritage and flavor profile. These tomatoes are the kind you want to source for making this gazpacho. Look for vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes at your local farmers’ market or specialty grocery retailer throughout the summer. I like to use a mix of varieties each time I make this soup. If your tomatoes are overly ripe or too juicy, reserve some of the extra juices when you seed the tomatoes and add it, if needed, at the end. Let your taste buds be your guide as you season the soup.
A simple garnish for the gazpacho is a few thinly sliced radishes, halved heirloom cherry tomatoes, micro arugula, or fresh celery leaves (any or all). Served in a chilled glass bowl, the presentation of this seasonal soup is especially attractive. If you want to make it extra special, add grilled fresh local shrimp to the garnish or combine lump crabmeat with watercress and micro celery.
MAKES ABOUT 2 QUARTS . SERVES 8 TO 10
6 large ripe heirloom tomatoes,
cored and seeded, bruised spots
and blemishes removed, roughly chopped (51⁄2 to 6 pounds before trimming)
1 red bell pepper, trimmed, seeds and membranes removed, and roughly chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, trimmed, seeds and membranes removed, and roughly chopped
1 poblano pepper, trimmed, seeds and membranes removed, and roughly chopped
4 cucumbers, peeled, halved, and seeds removed, sliced thick
1⁄8 Spanish onion, chopped (1⁄4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 medium jalapeños, trimmed, seeds and
membranes removed, and sliced
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 2 lemons, plus the finely
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 small bunch cilantro, stems trimmed
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
Thinly sliced radishes, halved heirloom cherry tomatoes, micro arugula, and small celery leaves, for garnish. Combine all of the ingredients except the garnishes in a large nonreactive pot and use an immersion blender to purée to a thick soup-like consistency, leaving some small pieces for color and texture, if desired. (Alternatively, purée the ingredients in a blender; this will have to be done in two or more batches.) If the tomatoes are not very juicy, you may need to add a little bit of water. Do this sparingly so you don’t dilute the flavors. Taste and adjust seasonings and then transfer to a plastic or glass container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To serve, portion into individual serving bowls and garnish with sliced radishes, halved cherry tomatoes, micro arugula, or small celery leaves or any combination of these.