Summer is tomato season. Those lovely red members of the nightshade family come in all shapes and sizes.
Tomatoes were originally grown as ornamental plants until somebody decided to taste one. Then all hell broke loose. Tomato sauce, Caprese salad, and pizza were invented.
Tomato soup is comfort food. You do believe those winter commercials, right? Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich make a great meal.
I miss the tomato rosemarina soup with orzo I used to get at a joint on Halsted and Jackson. A large bowl of that with some crusty bread was a treat.
It is summer. Recipes for gazpacho, vichyssoise, and fruit based soups abound. Cold soups are a pleasant light dish on those hot steamy days. They also make a fancy presentation to kick up your outdoor parties.
Back to tomatoes. This cold tomato yogurt soup is easy to make. If you can make a smoothie, you can do this. It is a perfect starter for a light meal or a refreshing palate cleanser between courses.
It can be served alone, or with olives, cheese, and bread. You could also serve it with bread and savory "mousse".
Basil, mint, dill, or rosemary can be used. Scallions or shallots add crunch.
This soup requires some flavor adjustments depending on the ripeness, sweetness, blandness, or tartness of the tomatoes. Taste a few pieces of tomato before making. That will determine if you need to add sugar or more lemon juice. The same holds true for the lemons. Lemons can be tarter, sweeter, or even a little bitter. Taste the lemon juice too.
This recipe serves two as a starter or one as a meal.
3-4 Roma tomatoes
Juice of one medium sized lemon
Grated zest of lemon
Kosher or sea salt
1/2-1 tsp. sugar
Coarse ground black pepper
1/3-1/2 cup Greek yogurt (Sour cream can be substituted)
1-2 cloves of garlic depending on size (Optional)
1/3 cup fresh mint leaves (Dill, basil, rosemary, or fennel fronds can be substituted)
Fine diced shallot or sliced scallion tops
1/2 tsp. Hot sauce (Optional)
Rough chop tomatoes.
Place in blender with lemon juice, garlic, herbs, zest, two finger pinch of salt, some pepper, 1/2 tsp. sugar, hot sauce (if using) and puree.
Taste and adjust seasoning and sugar.
Add yogurt and blend until smooth.
Pour into a mixing bowl.
Stir in shallots or scallions.
Refrigerate 1-2 hours to let flavors meld.
Before serving whisk the soup as it may separate and to lighten it up.
A heaping teaspoon of yogurt can be used as a garnish with herbs or capers.
You can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil as an option.
For a fancier presentation, you can use kefir or buttermilk instead of yogurt to make a thinner soup. Just adjust the tartness or sweetness. Serve the soup in narrow vodka or wine glasses.
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