Aug 15 2011

Weekday Lunch: Tomatoes

You say tomato, I say tomahto.  No, actually I say: I don't care how you pronounce it; can I have one?  The beauty of a tomato is that full satisfaction is possible from slicing one open and topping that slice with a little salt & pepper.  There's no reason to get complicated with this fruit.

One of our favorite preparations is to halve plum tomatoes, put a tablespoon of a breadcrumb mixture (olive oil, garlic, herbs) inside each half, and roast them until caramelized and shriveled.

This past Friday I had four tomatoes left from my Wednesday Greenmarket shopping spree.  I turned them into a tomato lunch:  gazpacho and a reinvention of the staid TBM (Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella).  For my reinvented sandwich, I brushed the outside of each piece of crusty bread with olive oil.  I then layered our own fire escape arugula,  tomato, and mozzerala on this country bread and drizzled the entire layer with balsamic vinegar before toasting it in a panini press.  TBM became a TAMB (Tomato, Arugula, Mozzarella, Balsamic) sandwich.

I wanted to turn the gazpacho into a more complicated taste than a typical gazpacho.  I upped the pepper and garlic content in the soup, using a gazpacho recipe from Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook as my guide.  Justin remarked that he usually finds gazpacho to be a summer throw-away soup (aka:  we might as well make it because it's summer) but that this soup demanded immediate attention.


Adapted from Garden Cookbook

Makes 4 large bowls


3 slices thick white (country) bread

2 garlic cloves

olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

675 grams tomatoes (translates to 3 large tomatoes)

2 sweet red peppers:  either quickly grilled or slow roasted

1 large onion

1 cucumber

425 ml tomato juice

salt and pepper

ice water (if necessary)


1)  Tear the crusts off of the bread.  Tear the bread into small pieces and put them in a large bowl.

2)  Crush the garlic and add it to the bread.  Add enough oil for the bread to become slightly saturated and then stir in the vinegar.

3)  Skin, deseed, and chop the tomatoes (You can easily skin the tomatoes by immersing them in boiling water for 10 seconds, transferring them to an ice bath for a minute.  The skin will peel off easily).  Add the tomatoes to the bowl.

4) Skin the roasted or grilled peppers before chopping them up.  Chop up the onion.  Add both the bowl.

5)  Deseed and chop the cucumber.  Add to the bowl and mix everything together.  Add the tomato juice and season with salt and pepper.

6)  Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor (you may have to do this in 2 batches).  Process until the mixture is quite smooth.

7)  Check the seasoning.  You can also add ice water to achieve the consistency you're looking for.  Chill and serve very cold!