“Soup,” declared the French gastronomer, Grimod de la Reyniere, “is to a diner what a portico or a peristyle is to a building… not only the first part of it but must be made in such a manner as to set the tone of the whole banquet, in the same way as the overture of an opera makes known the subject of the work.”
Tomatoes, both raw and cooked, play such a tremendous part in our diet that it is hard to believe that they have been in the general category of edible vegetables for only about a hundred years.
Tomatoes, cucumber, and peppers from the basis of the classic, Gazpacho soup. Add a spoonful of lemon thyme and chunky roasted cherry tomatoes for a refreshing summer appetizer. This is quite a substantial soup, so follow with a light main course, such a broiled fish or chicken.
Gazpacho with Lemon Thyme and Smoked Paprika
- 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 purple onion, finely chopped
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
- 1 sweet red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh lemon thyme
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
- few drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
- 2 cup tomato juice
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
Blend until mixed but still chunky.
Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving.
If you wish to peel tomatoes, hold them over a gas flame, turning constantly, or blanch them in boiling water for a minute. When cool, the skins will slip off without any trouble. Remove the stem ends. If you are planning to use the tomatoes for seasoning a dish, cut in quarters and remove the seeds. This means that you will have the essence of the tomatoes without the additional liquid that results from the cooking of the seeds.