Thursday, July 22, 2010

stop whatever you are doing & make this soup

Because you know what? I am on a cold-soup roll, which isn't some kind of bun that's served with vichyssoise, it is the unstoppable momentum achieved by making two delectable cold soups in a row. First there was the Thai Squash Soup, and now I offer you this: Creamy, Garlicky Gazpacho. Don't usually like gazpacho? You'll like this version. Don't usually like garlic? Use less. Don't usually like cream? Seriously? You don't usually like cream? That's fine; there's no actual cream in this creamy gazpacho; the soup gets its velvety richness from my new favorite food, sheep's milk yogurt (all other yogurts are dead to me now). This soup will be your new best friend, which is good, because no one else will want to come near you for a solid 24 hours after you've eaten it. But like I said: If you don't usually like garlic, use one clove instead of two.

A few other notes:

* This soup is so easy to make, you have no excuse not to try it.

* The recipe calls for a garnish of fried Parmesan crisps, which are easy to make when they don't totally fail (see below), but if you don't feel like exerting the extra effort, just grate a little cheese over your bowl before you eat. Or don't—the Parmesan is not essential.

* Go on now, start cooking.

Creamy, Garlicky Gazpacho
Adapted from the New York Times, which in addition to recipes also publishes all the news that's fit to print. Who knew?

6 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano
2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and roughly chopped

1½ cups (12 ounces) plain sheep’s-milk or regular yogurt [Use the sheep's milk. That's an order.]
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
12 basil leaves, roughly chopped, more for serving
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
2 scallions (white and light green parts), roughly chopped
2 ice cubes
1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
1½ teaspoons red wine vinegar, more to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper
Ground black pepper to taste.

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread 2 tablespoons cheese into a thin layer in skillet; let melt and brown on bottom, about 30 seconds to one minute. Use a spatula to flip cheese; let cook until evenly browned on both sides, about a minute more. Transfer fried cheese to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining cheese, working 2 tablespoons at a time. Break fried cheese into large pieces. [About half the time, my browned-on-one-side layer of cheese squinched up into a tasty but unattractive blob when I tried to scoop it up with the spatula for flipping. The rest of the time things worked out OK.]

2. To make soup, place tomatoes, yogurt, olive oil, basil, garlic, scallions, ice cubes, salt, vinegar, cayenne, and black pepper in a blender. Purée until smooth. Taste and add more salt and vinegar, if necessary. Pour into small bowls and garnish with pieces of fried cheese and chopped basil.

3. Resume whatever you stopped doing earlier.


  1. don't like garlic? what the hell are they doing at this site. get a grip. not only is garlic great and the more the better but its good for you. where's the downside? and who cares what the cheese LOOKS like - its yummy that way. many years ago when i worked at domino's pizza, we used to eat what we called chain cheese. cheese would drip onto the chain that pulls the pizza thru the oven and melt and burn and OMG was it good.

    security word def - "nasolyd" - what the best melted cheese is

  2. I'm in! This sounds AMAZING and as soon as my tomatoes are ripe on the vine I"m making it. I'll report back when I do.

  3. This sounds great. I love garlic so it won't be a problem. What's with the ice cube though? I don't exactly understand that one.

  4. I tried this last night and it was every bit as delicious as you promised! Try not turning the cheese, but setting the pan aside for a minute after one side is brown. When it cools a little, it comes out lacy and crisp and I didn't need to brown the second side.

  5. Chain cheese...I need to get some of that, TPR. And not eating garlic seems crazy to me, too.

    Can I sign up for a tomato CSA from your backyard, LL?

    Sarah, the ice cubes are to make the soup cold, I think, so you can serve it right away -- and possibly to thin it out a little?

    Brilliant, EBids. I'll give that a try next time.

  6. GFD - You may indeed sign up for a tomato CSA! I think we are going to have considerably more than we can handle with our TWENTY plants!!!