Unexpected elements like grill-charred tomatoes and two types of fresh chilis give this traditional Spanish soup a Mexican accent and loads of vibrant flavor.

This recipe is from Jewels and Jill's Healthy Festive Menu.
Servings: Serves 6
Grilled-tomato puree:
  • 6 tomatoes (about 4 pounds), preferably Japanese heirloom
  • 1 clove garlic , coarsely chopped
  • 1 shallot , coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh savory or chopped fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery , finely diced
  • 4 small Persian or English cucumbers (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1/2 shallot , finely diced
  • 1 green onion , finely diced
  • 1 or 2 serrano chilis , seeded and minced
  • 1 jalapeno chili , seeded and minced (with a few thin slices reserved for garnish, optional)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro , finely chopped (with some leaves left whole for garnish, not pictured)
  • 1/2 lime , juiced
  • Grilled-tomato puree
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Note: Using regular tomatoes is fine, but we suggest heirloom (particularly Japanese) varieties because they are lower in acidity and have thinner skins, which allow the smoky flavors to seep in. If you are sensitive to spice, you may reduce the number of chilis without compromising taste.

To make grilled-tomato puree: Preheat a grill (preferably charcoal) to high. Toss ingredients in a bowl; add enough olive oil to coat tomatoes (about 1/4 cup). Remove tomatoes from marinade, and place on hot grill; set bowl aside. Turn over as they blacken, and cover grill in between turning. Cook tomatoes until skins begin to blister, removing before they burst, about 12 minutes. Return them to bowl with marinade; let cool slightly, then puree everything in a food processor. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. (Alternatively, broil tomatoes: Preheat oven. Toss ingredients together in a glass or ceramic baking dish. Broil until tomatoes begin to burst, about 10 minutes. Turn tomatoes over and continue broiling for 10 minutes more. Let cool slightly, then puree and chill.)

To make gazpacho: In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except garnishes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide soup evenly among 6 small bowls. Garnish each with jalapeño slices. Optional: Set aside whole cilantro leaves for additional garnish (not pictured); serve cold.

Reprinted by arrangement with Celebra, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright © Jewels and Jill Elmore, 2009.


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