Cold Tomato and Basil Soup

I really hesitate to call this soup a gazpacho. It has no bread in it and it has sour cream, much like a vichyssoise. So, I’ll just stick with cold soup, and let you all debate the name.

Shopping list:

1.5-2 pounds of ripe tomatoes
3-4 garlic cloves
1 large cucumber
½-¾ cup ice cold vegetable stock
1 small, 8oz sour cream
Chipotle Tobasco sauce
Basil, 2-3 handfuls
1 avocado

This really is easy to make, but it will vary wildly based on the quality of the tomatoes. Just letting you know how important it is to pick good ones. First off start a pot of water boiling. Get a big bowl and fill it with ice water. Now take a sharp knife and score an X in the bottom of each tomato. Drop them in the boiling water for 15 seconds or so, then put them in the ice water. Now it’s easy to peel the skin away. See? No skin soup for you!!! (coughs) Sorry, I had to go there. Okay, now cut the tomatoes into wedges and get rid of the seeds and jelly stuff. Dice them up roughly and put in a container. Peel and seed the cucumber, dice it up and add it to the container as well. Finally take 3-4 gloves of garlic and dice very fine. Then while the diced garlic is on your cutting board, add about a ½ tsp of coarse sea salt. Using the back of a large spoon grind the salt into the garlic. Yup, you’re making garlic paste here. Add half of the paste you made to the container of tomatoes and cukes, and put in the fridge. Set the other half aside. You can do all this chopping etc ahead of time. The soup you want to make right before serving though. Okay?

When ready, take the container of tomatoes/cuke/garlic out of the fridge. Squeeze the juice of a lime over them and dump the whole lot into a blender. Puree this until it is super super smooth. Transfer this to a large glass bowl, and place in the freezer. At this point also put your soup bowls in the freezer as well. You can also do this by placing the glass bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. This way is just easier. Gotta like that, eh?

Okay, while the soup is in the fridge, take the basil and do a rough chop of it. I love basil and tomato together, as I think most folks do, I’d go with 3 good sized handfuls. Set that aside. Take the avocado, peel and remove the stone. Slice it into very thin strips lengthwise. You are going to float these on the soup, so that’s why you want them nice and thin. Sprinkle lime juice over the slices to keep them from browning.

After the soup has been in the freezer for about 10 minutes, remove it. Into the soup mix in the basil leaves, and about 4 oz of the sour cream. Using a hand blender for this part rocks. Now add about a tsp of cumin, and 5-6 good shakes of the hot sauce. Blend this again while adding in the ice cold veggie stock. Careful as you add the stock, you don’t want this too thick or thin. Think a nice cream soup consistency. If you do get it too thin, just add in some more sour cream or creme fraiche. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

To serve, ladle the soup into the bowls you just removed from the freezer. Float 4 slices of avocado on top in a fan pattern and lightly dust with just a pinch of cumin. Take a cucumber slice, and put on the rim of the bowl, like a lemon slice on a drink. For a slight variation, dice a seeded cuke into small pieces. Put a small mound on the bottom of each bowl, and pour the soup over them. This gives the soup a little texture which can help with some picky eaters.

There you go, Spicy tomato and basil soup with cucumber and avocado.


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