Roasted Tomato Gazpacho
It’s summer! But I am still, technically, a grad student until the end of my 6-week summer TA-ship… so the crazy feeling of having finished grad school probably won’t quite hit me until then.
In the meantime, starting last week, I’ve been waking up early to teach (and grade for) a summer intensive course in first-year Japanese, and it’s led to something of a rude awakening: waking up early five days a week is exhausting!
(Don’t laugh — after seven years of grad school, I have a lot to re-get used to…) The sad part is that Paula still wakes up earlier than I do and leaves the house before me… so obviously I have nothing to complain about.
Since I can’t just sleep in or be home at odd hours during the weekdays anymore, Paula and I have kicked our weekend cooking into high gear: she makes us sandwich bread and a frittata to last all week for breakfasts, and for our lunches, I make tabbouleh-like hearty salads and gazpacho soup.
But not like the gazpacho soup that I used to make (which, granted, is quicker, since you can make it with either fresh tomatoes or a large can of tomato juice). Since I first posted that recipe, the kind of gazpacho that has won my heart even more is made with oven-roasted tomatoes.
For this soup, I like to roast ripe, de-seeded roma tomatoes along with some onion, garlic, and a serrano. You can always skip the serrano and just add a dash of chili powder (or Sriracha) to spice up your gazpacho instead. The onions and garlic don’t necessarily need to be roasted (I use them raw in my other gazpacho recipe), but as long as they fit on my roasting pan / baking sheet, then they’re going into the oven, too!
Roasted tomatoes are the most important element. They give the soup a more intense flavor (especially if your tomatoes aren’t quite at the peak of their season yet!). But roasting them, with olive oil and sea salt, also mellows their acidity a bit and almost seems to make them sweeter. Of course the sweetness is then counterbalanced by the vinegar/lime juice and the hint of spice.
And don’t feel you need to limit things to just roma tomatoes either! I usually use romas for this recipe, since they’re easier to scoop the seeds out of compared to their rounder, squatter relatives. You do, however, need ripe, red flavorful tomatoes — nothing pale red and barely ripe or out of season. Yes, this recipe calls for turning on the oven, but this is decidedly a Summer Soup. (And not just because it’s eaten chilled.)
This gazpacho is less sharply vinegary than my previous version, so it doesn’t need to rely on a buttery garnish of avocado wedges to cut through the acidity. Instead, it relies on cucumber, blended into the soup, to thin out the broth and to stretch it across more servings.
The cucumber is especially nice if your tomatoes aren’t the juiciest — and because you will have de-seeded and discarded their gloppiest parts. (Although I like to strain out the “tomato water” from the seeds and add it back to the soup.)
Paired with the intense concentrated flavor of roasted tomatoes, the cucumber makes this summery soup all the more refreshing. Perfect for a fresh, cold, and reinvigorating lunch on a hot July afternoon (or for a lunch quickly slurped up in between teaching and office hours).
(I also like to let guests serve themselves gazpacho out of a pitcher — it’s a great addition to a buffet table at a tapas party!)
Print this recipe. (PDF)
Roasted Tomato Gazpacho
Active time: 25 min.; Total time: 1 hour.
~ 2 – 2½ lb. roma (or other ripe) tomatoes
~ ½ medium onion
~ 1 serrano, halved and de-seeded (or season soup with chili powder once blended)
~ several Tbsp. olive oil, to drizzle over tomatoes before roasting
~ sea salt
~ 6 cloves garlic, peeled
~ 1-2 slices bread, preferably sourdough, torn up
~ 1 whole large cucumber, peeled and chopped into a few pieces
~ 2 Tbsp. olive oil
~ 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar, or fresh lime juice
~ salt, white pepper, and hot sauce/chili powder, to taste
~ 1-2 small Persian cucumbers (or ½ large cucumber), diced, to garnish
~ ½ – 1 green bell pepper, diced, to garnish
~ ½ – 1 red bell pepper, diced, to garnish
How to make it:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice off the tops of the roma tomatoes, then halve the tomatoes and use your thumb to scoop out the seeds and liquid, reserving them in a bowl. Place the de-seeded, halved tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Add the onion to the baking sheet, and the serrano, if using. Drizzle the ingredients on the baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for about 20 minutes, then toss the peeled garlic cloves onto the baking sheet for the last 10-15 minutes of roasting. (30-35 min. total.)
2. Let roasted ingredients cool slightly, then transfer the onion, garlic, serrano, and a few of the tomatoes to the blender. Blend until smooth. Then add the rest of the tomatoes, the bread, and the peeled cucumber to the blender. At this point, you could also pour the tomato seeds/pulp through a fine mesh strainer: add the “tomato water” to the soup in the blender, and discard the seeds. Blend until smooth.
3. Add the olive oil, vinegar/lime juice, salt, pepper, and hot sauce/chili powder (if using). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
4. Dice additional cucumber and bell pepper(s) as a garnish — you can stir some of them into the soup, and reserve some for sprinkling over the tops of individual bowls just before serving.
5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. The olive oil will separate out onto the top — just stir it back in before eating.
Print this recipe! (PDF)
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|Gazpacho Soup||Crema de Aguacate (Mexican Avocado Soup)||Naengmyon (Cold Korean Noodles)||Spicy Tomato Soup with red lentils|