Grilling the vegetables for a cold gazpacho adds an unexpected depth of flavor. This summer soup tastes best when prepared a day in advance, refrigerated overnight to meld the flavors together and finished with fresh herbs at the table.
- 6 plum tomatoes
- 4 heirloom tomatoes
- Salt, to taste
- Olive oil for brushing
- 2 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into strips 1/4 inch thick
- 2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 jalapeño chilies, halved lengthwise and seeded
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 Tbs. hot-pepper sauce
- 1/2 cup tomato soup, plus more as needed
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh chervil
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
Core, quarter and seed the plum and heirloom tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer the water drained from the tomatoes to a sealed container, cover and refrigerate.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Brush and oil the grill grate or a vegetable-grilling basket.
Brush the zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers and chilies with olive oil, and lightly season with salt and pepper.
Working in batches, arrange the zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers and chilies on the grate or in the basket directly over medium-high heat. Grill, turning frequently, until soft and nicely charred on all sides, 2 to 4 minutes total for the zucchini and 10 minutes total for the tomatoes, bell peppers and chilies.
Transfer the grilled vegetables to a platter and let cool slightly. Pick over the vegetables, removing most of the burned skin but leaving some charred bits.
Working in batches, in a blender or food processor, combine the grilled vegetables, half of the cucumbers and the hot-pepper sauce and process until pureed. Add 1/2 cup of the tomato soup or more as needed to thin the puree to a pourable consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings; the gazpacho should be highly seasoned and spicy. Transfer to a glass pitcher, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
To serve, fill individual clear shot glasses or espresso cups three-fourths full with the gazpacho. Mix together the chopped fresh herbs. Top each serving with 1 tsp. of the remaining cucumbers, 1 Tbs. of the reserved tomato water, 3 drops extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of the herbs. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).